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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mind trip of the highest order
Having sat unread on my shelf for years following an aborted attempt to read it, boredom and curiosity urged me to finally read this rather strange book. However, the first few pages weren't promising - but I persevered and subsequently this book as become one of my all time favourites.

Part exploration of the soul / detective story, this is a Gothic tale woven...
Published on 18 July 2009 by RKhamar

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual book which might not suit everyone's taste
Warning: contains a spoiler about the plot.

I bought this book in Prague a years ago as a souvenir. It is an interesting book, although not the easiest to understand. The story comes on slowly but I was gripped by author's mastery of descriptive and atmospheric writing. The author has the power to draw the reader into the atmosphere with his words; his prose is...
Published on 15 Jun. 2013 by Penguin


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mind trip of the highest order, 18 July 2009
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
Having sat unread on my shelf for years following an aborted attempt to read it, boredom and curiosity urged me to finally read this rather strange book. However, the first few pages weren't promising - but I persevered and subsequently this book as become one of my all time favourites.

Part exploration of the soul / detective story, this is a Gothic tale woven from mythology, mysticism, and seeped in old world Prague. On the face of it, the narrator thinks a 'Jewish Frankenstein' is haunting the Jewish Ghetto of Prague and it looks like him. It is garnished with fascinating characters, side stories and visual descriptions of Prague.

A book highly recommended for people with a love of the unusual and the metaphorical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golem (European Classics) Gustav Meyrink, 19 July 2014
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
I had heard of Gustav Meyrink before but simply never got to reading anything by him. one of the preoccupations of this book is "doppelgangers", which are human look alikes - which was an early 20the century phobia. I read Gustav Meyrink had a profound effect upon Franz Kafka, and quite similar to Kafka, Gustav Meyrink makes textual jerks in his prose, by this I mean he purposely shifts the narrative focus from showing the reader one thing and then changing rapidly to something else, which is quiet bizarre and unsettling. If you enjoy strange scenarios like Franz Kafka's The Trial - you'll love this. The Golem (European Classics) Gustav Meyrink is an interesting book for discerning readers and those with an interest in the bizarre. i thoroughly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every (spiritual black) holem's a golem, 19 Oct. 2014
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Have just this a second time, and was relieved to find its still a great read, and even better (after an interval of about 20 years) that perhaps on account of a Pernath like amnesia I had forgotten most of the details and the plot - all the better to re-consume its delicately rancid flesh.

The thing that struck me though on this second reading, and which judging by many of the other reviews is the degree to which this is (unashamedly) influenced by kabbalah, hermiticism and also other forms of occultism. Meyrink's golem (at least) is much much more than a frankenstien's monster, but has an intimate connexion with, not only hermetic / kabbalistic thinking, but also schools of thought like freudian (and perhaps jungian) notions of the unconscious. I'm looking forward to reading some Meyrink's other apparently even more mystical work but its clear that the fact that he was (or became) a member of the golden dawn is clearly not a minor detail. This is a great novel, but once one has read this 'naively' at face value, its well worth looking more closely at its not particularly concealed symbolic and hermetic meanings. Much of the action, as mediated by characters such as the impoverish student Charousek, and indeed the condemned man who appears at the end may have alternate meanings that the unaware of uninitiated may likely miss. Charousek's status for instance as a kind of guardian angel might usefully be unpacked for the occult meaning it contains. Nonetheless while Meyrink clearly has an ontology in mind some of the later meditations on human freedom and morality, and the possible paths to some kind of transcendence are genuinely profound, and worth reading even if you occultism gives you the willies. But then of course that's half the fun.

Overall a hugely strange and morally profound if troubling meditation on the nature of identity, and a good thriller of sorts to boot
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The great book that no one knows about, 11 May 2012
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This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
When ever I mention Gustav Meyrink to people they look at me blankly. It seems that nobody these days has heard of him; I've even had people tell me that if I like silent films I should watch Paul Wegeners film Der Golem.
I have I tell them, 'Have you read the book its based on?'
They still look back at me blankly.
Wegeners film is not in anyway a translation of this book to film. The book is something else all together. Its almost impossible to put its grandeur into words here in such a short space.
Meyrink writes prose like Tom Waits writes music. His prose feels like it should be read to the sound of madmen fresh from a world war 1 trench, beating out a polka on rusted metal, torn accordions and battered violins. Its like being thrown into a dark, bitter room with Van Gophs 'Potato Eaters' only to discover they are the wisest people alive. Its like Kafka, if Kafka lived under Charles Bridge with a soul eating troll. Its like Dostoyevsky, if old Fyodor was less interested in ubermensch and and more interested in the Khlysty cult.
This book is just incredible; I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that if there is one book that I am glad to have read and will read again and again it is this one. This is true industrial gothic set in a world about to be obliterated, on the cusp of the 19th century and the horrors of the 20th; and somewhere in there, hidden deep, there feels like there's a secret treasure, that thing that mystics have been searching for always, but just when you get your mud soaked, frozen fingers on it... its gone.
Meyrink is a huge influence on my own writing; I wish I had an ounce of his wisdom. The Brothers Rat
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best works of fiction ever written!, 23 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
This is an incredibly atmospheric book with a most powerful sense of place. It captures the strange thought patterns of dreams and is utterly captivating. Read it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very enthralling, 9 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
Meyrink’s horror story set in the Prague Ghetto and based on the cabalist legend of a human-like being created from clay is much richer than I had expected. It has been on my “to-be-read” list for a long time and I always perceived that it was going to be a slower and more arduous read than it turned out.

From the very start Meyrink blurred the boundaries between sleep and consciousness; dream and reality; madness and sanity. He also played with the narrator’s, and consequently the reader’s, sense of identity. The initial sections are dense with ideas and it is worth taking them slowly but the story soon picks up the pace. This tale is enthralling and as I read the book I was taken up with the narrator’s problems and fears.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Unexpected, 28 Dec. 2010
By 
Mr. Ian P. Scott "Tom Fairfax" (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
One of many stories built around the Golem legend. The sense of place and time created is superb, the mystical elements are absorbing and the plot twists and tension keep you reading. The plot follows a different arc from what you might expect if you have seen the old Golem movies from years ago and some people might find that aspect disappointing. It is not a horror story in the Stephen King mould, more akin to the perplexing worlds of Haruki Murakami, I think. Well worth reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual book which might not suit everyone's taste, 15 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
Warning: contains a spoiler about the plot.

I bought this book in Prague a years ago as a souvenir. It is an interesting book, although not the easiest to understand. The story comes on slowly but I was gripped by author's mastery of descriptive and atmospheric writing. The author has the power to draw the reader into the atmosphere with his words; his prose is simply a joy to read and the reason why I did not give up on the book! There is much to learn about how to write!

The subject matter is a bit more difficult to score, with a lot depending on personal taste. It definitely is confusing and disjointed, but it can be seen as reflecting the confusion of the narrator's mind and the fact that it was all a dream! Every now and again, you will find some great quotes which you would like to ponder over. As the narrative is from the first person, it probes into the deepest psychology of a person's mind and soul, where rationality does not always reign. Rather we meet with desires, fear, anxiety, love, yearning, worry, sorrow, and determination. Through the character of Charousek, we also catch a glimpse of what hatred means. The villain of the book was the junk dealer with a harelip, Wassertrum, who was marked by his ugliness and hated by most of the characters in the book! But within Wassertrum, the author dealt with the intricacy of human soul which could be torn by the coexistence of equally powerful polar forces and in turn torment the soul to the point of desperation. Could we say deep down we all long to be loved and to love, even when one acts like without a conscience or a love for mankind in general?

The content of this book is actually disturbing, as it is first narrated through a madman, and characters are often teetering on the edge of suicidal thoughts. It is violent - the murders and the way how Charousek ended his life. The perturbing thing about this book is that you find yourself finding extenuating circumstances for people who commit horrific crimes. Take Charousek, who had hatred run in his blood. He schemed and entrapped people he hated to their death, and he took joy over it. Yet to the narrator (Pernath, a renown lapidary), he was a like a guardian angel and treated Pernath like a brother, with extraordinary kindness and generosity. Despite all his crimes and ruthlessness, when Wassertrum was murdered, one did not clap hands and exclaimed, "Serve you right!". Instead one's emotion was weighed down by the sorrow of a tragedy. Even Pernath had contemplated suicide, although he was caught up with events and ended not doing it. It is kind of depressing to think that when probed deep, there is no more reasonable conclusion to life than death itself.

No doubt this book is full of symbolism, and contains more that I can decipher. It is an eye-opener to the psycho of the edgy and mysticism. I am not sure if this is a comfortable or leisure read as such. Nonetheless it is an exposure to an unfamiliar ground for many. The prose is most certainly lyrical.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars atmosphere & mysticism, 20 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Golem (Hardcover)
Set in the Jewish ghetto of Prague more than a hundred years ago, this book absolutely oozes atmosphere & symbolism. The states of conciousness & way things are described are sumblime.. the translation is masterful & is a real page turner. Id heard about this book some 10 years ago & really regret I left it till now to finally read. ITs difficult to describe exactly what its about, it involves a man who cannot recall sections of his past and is on a spiritual quest to make himself whole again, a jewish legend of a monster called the golem which haunts the narrow alleys of the ghetto. Its esoteric stuff, but the layman can easily read it. One note on the tartarus press edition - expensive, but your paying for pure quality, a real collectors piece. This book is available in chaper versions if the price is daunting, make sure you check out this translation
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hebraic model of the Gentile Frankenstein, 21 May 2010
By 
Ken Raus "Ken Raus" (Lugdunum) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Golem (European Classics) (Paperback)
This is a very gothic and atmospheric tale of the creation of a magical prescientific robot or hybrid as embedded in ancient Jewish lore,as a monster warrior much like the trolls of European legend or indeed,the giants of biblical legend but the Golem itself might also be an analogue of the monotheists conviction of God's creation of Man,where here the Rebbe's perverse ambition is the nonsexual creation of life...The plot is relatively intricate and melodramatic but that is also the nineteenth century style,often florid in comparison to todays crass prose,so a little patient adjustment of attitude might be needed-It's worth it,it's a curious read and Frankenstein is the rational and tragic Gentilisation or Christianisation of the old Hebrew myth,as the denouement should clearly suggest...The Golem is nineteenth century Gothic,a spooky,grim,shadowy and passionate world describes itself here,in the urban mazes of old Eastern Europa of both bloody Vlad Tsepesh ambience and of the subsequent Draculean fiction thereof...The Golem might as well be a giant zombie where the magic is in the wizards commands as one might command a Hasaschin or servant-A good grim tale for those who like this kind of stuff with a mood similar to that of Nosferatu or the early Weimar monochromes of Deutschland as was;Excellent,if I recall and of course,weird.
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