Der Golem
Gustav Meyrink
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Der Golem

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,104 ratings  ·  119 reviews
The novel centers on the life of Athanasius Pernath, a jeweler and art restorer who lives in the ghetto of Prague. But his story is experienced by an anonymous narrator, who, during a visionary dream, assumes Pernath's identity thirty years before. This dream was perhaps induced because he inadvertently swapped his hat with the real (old) Pernath's. While the novel is gene...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2010 by Createspace (first published 1915)
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Hello. My name is Greg and this is my review for:

I should first warn anyone reading this review that I suck at reading and you'd probably be better off reading reviews written by people who don't suck at reading. I only discovered my reading suckness last week, so I shamefully apologize for anyone who has read any of my six hundred and eight other reviews and thought they were reading a review written by someone who didn't suck. This review is probably a much more informative review than mine:

While the story of The Golem alone deserves four stars as Gustav Meyrink's masterpiece, the Tartarus Press edition, of which I happen to be a fortunate owner, pushes the book-as-artifact into the five star category. This book is one of my most prized possessions, one of the books I'll reach for if the library ever catches fire. Everything about it screams "I defy you to find another book as cool as me". From the outstanding internal artwork to the silk ribbon marker to the weight of the pages th...more
Con ‘El Golem’ no hay término medio. O la consideras una obra capital dentro del gótico del siglo XX, o la desprecias sin más, teniéndola por una novela enrevesada y pesada. Yo soy de los primeros. Al principio, y sin tener mucha idea de lo que me iba a encontrar, pensaba leer una historia de terror con la figura del mito del Golem de la literatura judía como tema principal. Y no es así, porque el terror brilla por su ausencia. Es posible que este sea uno de los principales motivos por los que l...more
A golem is not the Gollum of Tolkien lore. I say this because I already had to explain this to someone at work who got super excited because he did not know a book about Gollum had been written separately. Sigh.

A golem is an animate being made from inanimate substances, often like mud, etc. and the stories hail from early Judaism. The most common concept is that the Hebrew word for truth (Emet) written on a piece of paper is placed on the Golem's head, or in the mouth, which then brings the Gole...more
If you don't like this book then you probably suck at reading.
The Golem, said to have been created by the Rabbi Loew for the protection of the Ghetto in Prague, is a mysterious figure that apparently takes many forms, reminiscent in some ways of Leo Perutz’s Marquis of Bolibar.

Gustav Meyrink’s novel THE GOLEM, set in the turn-of-the-20th-century Prague Ghetto, revolves around the main character and narrator, Athanasius Pernath, who is searching for his identity. His memory of his own past has been blocked, and he is seeking both memory of that past and the...more
Another Borges recommendation. The guy just cannot steer you wrong!

This is one of those wandering, paranoid hallucinations -- the plot is largely unnecessary, in a good way. An exemplar of the novel as a more experiential form than anything else. The prose stimulates all five senses constantly, and there is an almost allegorical thing going on that successfully resists understanding but provokes intense curiosity.

I read it in three bursts separated by long stretches of time, and felt that the st...more
An excellent novel, full of surreal imagery from fin-de-sciècle Jewish Prague. Though the plot is engaging and mysterious, the book's main assets are the esoteric imagery and oneiric flow. Recommended if you're looking for something Kafkaesque and mystic.
Nicki Markus
This is an intriguing piece of fiction that takes you into a claustrophobic world, reminiscent of the works of Meyrink's contemporary, Kakfa. Like Kafka, Meyrink offers us an intriguing glimpse of life in the backstreets of Prague, most notably the Jewish Quarter, and there are certainly some parallels with Kakfa's The Trial towards the end of the book.

The story follows a man who, having put on another's hat, finds himself transported into that man's mind, making this other man the protagonist....more
I didn't really know what to expect before reading this and afterwards it is quite hard to talk about.

Initially I think it was quite hard to get into, being introduced with new characters with each new chapter and the somewhat disjointed feel from chapter to chapter. But after a while one gets into the flow and embroiled in the story.

Looking back, it doesn't really feel like a horror story as such, although it definitely fits into the category of a weird tale with it's strange occurrences, unrel...more
The Golem is a high-brow literary thriller. Very readable, even re-readable. Here's what the great Jorge Luis Borges wrote about it in 1936: "...An extraordinarily visual book that enchantingly combines mythology, eroticism, tourism, the 'local color' of Prague, prophetic dreams, dreams of past or future lives, and even reality." A "wonderful book." This quote is from a brief review of Meyrink's The Angel of the Western Window, about which Borges was far less enthusiastic. (See JLB, Selected Non...more
I can honestly say I still don't know what was real and what was not. The first scene was breathtaking and all other dreamy scenes following it were equally fantastic. Dreams, hopes, mythology and a hint of reality mixed together with a dash of creepiness.
Orlando Fato
I enjoyed the novel as a moment in the life of Athanasius Pernath. It's the world in which Mr. Pernath lives, the characters he meets and the ghetto of Prague, what makes reading this book fascinating. The aura of uncertainty and mistery, along with the misery, hatred, obsession, greed, amorality, love, murder and a vast array of human feelings and acts, permeates this novel to the point of an intoxication that leaves you wanting for more.

My only problem is that I am not familiar with Jewish mys...more
Feb 24, 2013 Ariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sara
Shelves: favorites
It's not even March yet and I know that this is going to be one of the best books I'd have read all year.

I heard of this novel thanks to Borges, who wrote its prologue a year before his death. The influence of Meyrink on Borges' work seems obvious to me now. In fact, this book may have influenced many other works. I'll have to describe the book the way wine professionals describe a wine's flavor, by comparing it to other flavors. The Golem is a strange combination of Poe's William Wilson, The Ma...more
If I were to judge this novel strictly on the atmosphere it creates in the Prague ghetto and for its descriptions, especially of dreams, I would give it five stars. Generally I am not a fan non-linear fiction, but Meyrink does it extremely well as he doesn't become entangled with writing style.

My criticism of the novel is that it strays into a private mythology without, at times, giving the reader a way out. The mixture of delusion and mysticism is sometimes not well balanced, and the reader is...more
Jul 16, 2008 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like dreaming inside a book
A man wakes up one day & finds himself living in the ancient Jewish ghetto of Prague under an unfamiliar name. Over the coming weeks he falls helplessly in love with three different women, while he is also stalked by a mysterious figure who might be his supernatural double or the monstrous, legendary golem. Filling this novel--his first--with his trademark mysticism, Meyrink comes off nearly as enigmatic as Kafka, just as desperate as Dostoyevsky, & twice as unnerving as Poe.
This book was a blast! I'm surprised to hear that it's known for being a difficult read. Maybe it was good timing that I read this right after Star Maker, so that I'd swallow anything so long as it had characters and dialogue and more than a hint of plot.
The Golem doesn't actually have that much of a plot, funnily enough. It's more concerned with being trippy, creepy and atmospheric. It reminded me a lot of David Lynch films, which is weird, because I'd only just put something in my profile abo...more
Oct 07, 2007 Greta rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jung fans, Jewish history
Multifacted book has much to say about fragmentation of the self and identity. Although disjointed narratives brillliantly contribute to the themes of the book, some readers (not me) may be put off by them.Interesting connections to Jungian ideas and Jewish history. Poignant moments in book, as one sees the liveliness of the Jewish community before the Holocaust.
Ein ganz besonderer Klassiker. In feiner, ausgefeilter Sprache geschrieben und von David Nathan bravourös gelesen. Gruselig, magisch, seltsam - ein Sahnestück.

Hier könnt ihr meine Rezension lesen: . Ich gebe 9/10 Punkte.
This book wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted a gothic horror novel along the lines of Frankenstein or Dracula. It was a good story, but I didn't learn enough about the Golem or its origins. That said, it was very good and I recommend it.
Unbelievable read. I will have to read it again in the future, as it left me a little confused and asking a few questions (in a good way), but beautifully written with a genuinely likable character. had my heart thumping a few times.
May 18, 2012 pearl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The cover of this book terrifies me. AUGH.
Andy Cyca
*El Golem* tiene ese sentido de oscuridad aterradora y fascinante de las primeras novelas góticas. La narración siempre deja ver que hay algo más, escondido justo detrás de la esquina como si fuera una leyenda de hace mil años (aunque la novela apenas tiene cien). A veces es difícil seguir el hilo de la narración, pero tiene sentido dada la naturaleza mística del libro. En lo personal no me gustó el final, pero admito que tiene sentido y es coherente con toda la obra, la cual me dejó varias incó...more
Iva Kenaz
I'm a big fan of Meyrink's work, because I love novels that one can read many times and still find something new and inspiring to focus on. I found Golem to be so atmospheric that I felt as if I was there in the old Jewish Town, feeling the claustrophobic melancholy of the place, seeing the variety of people who lived there, hearing the old medieval houses whispering their ancient secrets, absorbing the mystery of the stones. I was born in Prague and grew up in the city, but the Jewish Town (als...more
Despite my original assumption that this classic was a sort of gothic horror story, it turns out that it is more of a psychological thriller. The reader is plunged into the world of 1880's Prague - specifically the Jewish ghetto. The story is of Athanasius Pernath, a jeweller, and his struggle to come to terms with an inability to remember his childhood past - all he knows is that it was so traumatic that he was hypnotised into forgetfulness. He comes across stories and characters on the journey...more
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Šią knygą pirkau dar mokykloje, o perskaičiau tik dabar. Ir teisingai - sudėtinga knyga. Gustav Meyrink yra laikomas Rilkės ir Kafkos pirmtaku (bent jau pastarojo tai tikrai, jau matau iš kur išlindo vabalas). Knyga labai psichodeliška - kupina vizijų, sapnų, neaiški laiko tėkmė, daug įvairių daugiasluoksnių simbolių ir kabalistinės pasaulėžiūros. knygoje aprašomas ligotos sąmonės žmogaus išgijimo procesas - sunkus ir persmelktas siaubo. Knyga patiko dėl labai vaizdingai aprašomų vizijų, į kuria...more
It took me two months to finish this not long book, after diving in for 50 pages I abandoned it for weeks and had to force myself back into it. And that was one of my issues, I could never really get into this classic of horror literature. Me and classics, we have a bit of a hate-love relationship and -again- I am not pleased with what I discovered.
Mysticism and metaphors dominate the run and not all adds up in the end, no matter how hard you want to turn it, some things don't make sense, but ye...more
This is a very unusual book. That's good, because it challenged me. That's also not so good, because I struggled to get through it at times. Consequently, I was not sure how to "rate" it. So take my three stars with a grain of salt.

I that suspect some of my difficulties were compounded by the stale translation employed by this edition (Pemberton's English version: probably the first English translation, and probably in the public domain). I was often hung up by the translator's sentence structur...more
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Classic Horror Lo...: The Golem by Gustav Meyrink *Spoilers* 40 34 Aug 31, 2012 06:43AM  
  • The Other Side (Dedalus European Classics)
  • The Devil's Elixirs
  • The Dark Domain
  • The Tenant
  • The Manuscript Found in Saragossa
  • Malpertuis
  • The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch
  • Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
  • The Complete John Silence Stories (Dover Horror Classics)
  • Là-Bas (Down There)
  • Hill of Dreams
  • Painted Devils
  • Prague Tales (Central European Classics)
  • Gog
  • The Obscene Bird of Night
  • Job: The Story of a Simple Man
  • Moravagine
  • Fugue State
The illegitimate child of a baron and an actress, Meyrinck spent his childhood in Germany, then moving to today's Czech Republic where he lived for 20 years. The city of Prague is present in most of his work along with various religious, occult and fantastic themes. Meyrinck practiced yoga all his life.

Curious facts:

He unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide at the age of 24. His son committed su...more
More about Gustav Meyrink...
The Angel of the West Window Walpurgisnacht The Green Face The White Dominican The Opal (and Other Stories)

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“I have not let myself be stultified by science, whose highest goal is to furnish a `waiting room', which it would be best to tear down.” 6 likes
“It is the narrow, hidden tracks that lead back to our lost homeland, what contains the solution to the last mysteries is not the ugly scar that life's rasp leaves on us, but the fine, almost invisible writing that is engraved on our body.” 6 likes
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