Friday, 10 February 2012

The Golem by Gustav Meyrink - Book Review

Title: The Golem 
Author: Gustav Meyrink
Publisher: Dedalus
Publication Date: 2010 (1915)
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Xmas Gift

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. This is a transcendental piece about the nature of identity and memories that David Lynch could no doubt make into an incomprehensible film.

This is one of those books that sneak up on you. There is so much complexity and each step reveals one answer while posing another question. This is not a retelling of the Golem legend, but rather a piece that using the idea of the clay figure without a real identity as a metaphor.

If you are looking for a story that makes sense, follows and linear path and offers a happy ending then this is not the book for you. But, I highly recommend it for fans of authors such as Kafka and Kundera as it is an interesting study of the human condition and a wonderful portrait of life in Prague at the time.

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