The Golem

By Gustav Meyrink.

This great poster from the 1979 Polish movie ‘The Golem’ is by Franciszek Starowieyski – I am going to have to try and track the movie down, though I believe it has a different plot to the book. There is also a silent movie version that I will watch by Wegener – I will post an update later on this.

Meyrinks’s novel – what a book. In very general terms it was a cross between Hamsun’s ‘Hunger’ and Edgar Allen Poe with a bit of Kafka mixed in there too. Apparently Kafka and Meyrink were acquainted. It is very sinister, dreamlike, filled with atmosphere but also with a great deal of introspection. You, the reader, are left to figure out what the twists in plot mean along with the symbolism and ultimately at the end you have to draw your own conclusions.

Sometimes, when you are left wondering at the end of a book you can assume it is a device of the writer when he or she hasn’t quite worked out how to finish it. In this case, I believe there are a few ways of seeing the end and that this was by design. The questions posed throughout the book can possibly be resolved, but only if you choose to and never with any certainty. The Golem is a backdrop – he was created out of Jewish mysticism but was always only a product and not a source in itself. The larger story in the novel is based around the psychological and spiritual experiences of Athanasius Pernath and the characters that he comes in contact with. The intrusion of the anonymous narrator at the end opens things up – the story expands into the wider world.

I don’t want to give anymore away. It is definitely recommended. Oh, and the translation by Mike Mitchell reads very well.

Soundtrack: ‘Ghost Boy’ by Widowspeak.










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