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Stories of God

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  444 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Rainer Maria Rilke felt that the world's joys most truly belonged to the young. His 14 'Stories of God' captured for them the magic, charm & wisdom of fairy & folk tales. "By Way of Introduction: The Tale of God’s Hands" introduces the book's framework, the storyteller & his neighbors. The framework is that the storyteller will tell stories to townspeople & ...more
Hardcover, 139 pages
Published April 1st 1963 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. (NYC) (first published 1900)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dhanaraj Rajan
Admission of Truth:

I feel inadequate to review this book. For the reading experience that it offered was more than what I had expected. In fact, it was just awesome. But that is a word that explains nothing. Rilke comes to rescue me. He writes in one of the stories: "The things we experience are often inexpressible, and any one who insists on telling them nevertheless, necessarily makes mistakes--"

My Expectation and the Surprise:

I began with an expectation that it will reveal something about God
...more
Sara
May 15, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Rilke reads like mouthfuls of velvet. Here his wisdom is so natural that it's as though you're looking at stars rather than type.
Lavinia
Aug 03, 2015 Lavinia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cum a ajuns degetarul sa fie Dumnezeu

Cind plecai de la fereastra, norii de seara erau tot pe cer. Pareau ca asteapta. Ce-ar fi sa le spun si lor o poveste? Le facui propunerea. Ei insa nu ma auzira. Ca sa-i fac sa ma inteleaga si ca sa scurtez departarea dintre noi, strigai: “Eu sint, ca si voi, un nor de seara”. Si ei se oprira si pareau ca se uita la mine. Apoi isi intinsera spre mine aripile fine, stravezii, rosietice. Asa se salute de obicei norii de seara. Ei ma recunoscusera.

“Noi sintem de
...more
Armin Hennig
Jan 14, 2017 Armin Hennig rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Da geht ein Genie, um des lieben Geldes willen in die Knie oder auf alle Viere und brabbelt für die Kleinen was vom lieben Gott. Frommes Kunstgewerbe fürs Regal, nur für schlichte Gemüter, die auch mal was von einem großen Dichter gelesen und verstanden haben wollen.
Gesana
Dec 02, 2014 Gesana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's amazing that Rilke has written this book at the age of 23, you can feel an old man wisdom in his stories.
I'd recommend this book to all of them who want to find a piece of memories from the lost childhood, a piece of magic, a source of joy from the lost childish naivety way of hearing a story, pure poetry.
This book is for all the people who still remind of the little kid within them.
Nancy Nordenson
Sep 07, 2009 Nancy Nordenson rated it it was amazing
Stories of God is an early work of Rilke's, written at the age of 23 on seven consecutive nights in 1899 as a series of connected stories about God for children. The book is written as a first-person narrative with the stories embedded. As the narrator goes about his daily life, he tells these stories to certain neighbors or other listeners, such as the clouds and the dark, with the admonition to pass them on to the children.

Twenty years after the stories were written, Rilke provided this insig
...more
Nools
Aug 11, 2009 Nools rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My go-tos have been letting me down lately. I finished it a little while ago, but I was so sadly confused that my dear Rilke and I definitely were not on the same page. It was too strange for me -- except, perhaps, for the last story. The patiently aching anticipation resonated very tenderly/sweetly/intimately/hopefully/all those Rilke-esque words, just as Rilke ought and typically does for me, but mostly did not this time. I almost gave it another star for that last one, except three means "I l ...more
Sandra
Mais um dos pequenos livrinhos de bolso que o DN anda a distribuir neste Verão.

Um livro de pequenos contos mas todos unidos pelo mesmo narrador e todos contados com a mesma finalidade, a de ser transmitida de boca em boca tentando chegar às crianças.

Todos os contos presentes neste pequenino livro possuem o mesmo tema - DEUS. Uma visão um pouco estranha de um Deus que nos criou mas que nos desconhece e que tenta de diversas formas descobrir o que é afinal o Homem e a Humanidade.

Este autor escreve
...more
Leslie
May 09, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to reread this. It is a bit of a challenge for a couple of reasons. The first is that the stories are not meant to be analyzed deeply for theology, they are more impressions of a happy period in Rilke's life when he wanted to express a childlike joy and wonder at the workings of God. The second is that the points of the stories are at once both obvious and fleeting; obvious because they are meant for children and supposed to be simple, and fleeting because if you (meaning I) think for a s ...more
Anne Linstatter
Sep 24, 2009 Anne Linstatter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I like this new translation... I prefer the translation by M.D. Herter Norton.

But these stories are beautiful retellings of the gospel and the creation, of the human condition. I especially like "How the Thimble Came To Be God."

I read it during college--about 1968--not in a class, but as a recommendation of a friend. I still treasure it, along with Rilke's poem that begins, "O Leben, Leben,wunderliche Zeit..."
John
Jan 12, 2011 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You probably ought to blame the reader more than the author for this poor review. I just didn't have the stamina or the bredth of experience with Russian religious writing to find this as worthwhile as I probably should have.
As indicated, Rainer's story telling style is a bit odd (almost Chaucer-esque), and his stories seem to often lack coherence... and his understanding of God seems to this reader alternately familiar and foreign.
Anna
It's a beautiful little book, reuniting a bunch of stories about God and various parts of his body.

I am not a religious person. In fact I think I'm on of those hardcore atheists that think religion is full of crap and would much rather spend their time believing in science which always seems to make so much more sense. However, this is a book for anyone.

It's mainly meant for children, so of course it's a pretty easy and quick read. I'd give this a try if you ever come across it.
Deen
Jan 13, 2008 Deen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all the tales are so wildly profound, but there are a few true gems in there. It is a very old book, with an old sense of language. But Rilke, who has written two or three of my most favorite poems in the world, tells stories that resonate a piety (relationship with, love of, and faith in God) that I myself feel. It is not religious at all, which is quite astounding for that time period, I think. It is beautiful, and it is told (as he says many times) for the children.
Michelle
Apr 05, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I felt like I needed some inspiration. I liked the stories, they were simple and to the point (more or less) and kept their promise of being targeted towards children and about God. Now that I've read it, I think this is the kind of book that I'll turn to now and then to look up a specific story or quote because it might help me to feel better or maybe help me come up with a story to share with the children in my life...
Tita
Jan 21, 2016 Tita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2014, _d_
Tenho a vaga ideia de este livro ter saído algures num jornal qualquer há alguns anos, mas não sei precisar nem quando nem qual.
Um livro com pequenos contos, com o ponto comum de terem todos o mesmo narrador, sendo histórias fáceis de ser transmitidas oralmente com o tema comum de serem histórias sobre Deus.
Decididamente não é um género literário que me agrade e só peguei no livro por ser pequeno e porque quero ir "despachando" livros da pilha.
Gerry LaFemina
Dec 30, 2016 Gerry LaFemina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, which functions almost like a novel in short stories, is a lovely collection of fables about god in the everyday. It gets a bit redundant at times, but these modern myths of a flawed god made me smile, and their insights into the creative process of telling stories is thought provoking and smart.
Rachelle
Sep 08, 2014 Rachelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this collection of beautiful short stories. In a way, these are high-grade children's stories. For adults, they are touching and soulful. Rilke is one of the few story tellers who can weave something so graphic, so visceral, so intimate... with such simplicity and authenticity. Highly recommend.
Bryana Johnson
Nov 10, 2013 Bryana Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I love Rilke for being such a marvelous writer and for writing fairy-tales, and for loving children. I hate the irreverence of the book and the way it throws everything into a mood of insecurity and uncertainty and takes away from the eternal nature of fairy-tales.
Adam
Apr 27, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
On the whole, these stories did not speak to me the way Rilke's poetry does. I expected to be engrossed by the theme of God existing in the banal, and some of the stories are quite enjoyable. But my mind frequently drifted away from the stories as I read, which is not a good sign. I'm wavering between giving it two or three stars.
C♥Bonn
Jan 08, 2014 C♥Bonn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book is a must-read because it does not approach God in the conventional way. The stories are both charming and strange, even dream-like. As the tales are told by a schoolteacher, the images are child-like and unforgettable.
Brian
Dec 17, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a few years ago, and I've been meaning to find it again. Its not really about God. There are a few stories with God in it, but they involve him losing track of his hands. From what Its fantastic.
Maria Carmo
Poetry in prose, this book of wonderment and search for the divine in nature and in man.

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon, 22 Nd. February 2013.
Adrienne Cardon
If Hans Christian Andersen and CS Lewis had a baby. There's some interesting mythology here, but this is not my favorite Rilke.
João Moura
Jun 26, 2013 João Moura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humano e divino, poesia e prosa, lúdico e filosófico, pequeno mas grande, um bom livro de um jovem Rilke!
Mimi
Oct 23, 2008 Mimi rated it liked it
This collection of translated German prose was a departure for me. I enjoyed reading these fable style tales told to and for children about God. Thought provoking
Carmen
I just finished reading the first story, The Tale of God's Hands, and I am completely charmed. I picked it up thinking it would be poetry
Suzanne Roussin
May 06, 2010 Suzanne Roussin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this collection of short stories as fiction tales of divinity. It sounds like stories that god himself would tell around the fire, on his turn to take the scouts camping that year.
Laura Vorlow
Oct 30, 2010 Laura Vorlow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mis-libros
I've just started the second chapter about the traveller.
Nilo Di Stefano
Feb 03, 2011 Nilo Di Stefano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Semplicemente fantastico. Educativo , riflessivo. intenso. Dovrebbero leggerlo tutti
James
Nov 01, 2010 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rilke at his best. Charming.
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7906
Rainer Maria Rilke is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets.

His haunting images tend to focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety — themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two mos
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More about Rainer Maria Rilke...

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“To make myself understood and to diminish the distance between us, I called out: “I am an evening cloud too.” They stopped still, evidently taking a good look at me. Then they stretched towards me their fine, transparent, rosy wings. That is how evening clouds greet each other. They had recognized me.” 18 likes
“There comes a time when we have deposited in it all our firstlings, all beginning, all confidence, the seeds of all that which might perhaps some day come to be. And suddenly we realize: All that has sunk into a deep sea, and we don't even know just when. We never noticed it. As though some one were to collect all his money, and buy a feather with it and stick the feather in his hat: whish!--the first breeze will carry it away. Naturally he arrives home without his feather, and nothing remains for him but to look back and think when it would have flown.” 5 likes
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