Turn The Page: The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse

glass bead game My friend seemed to have almost the entire Herman Hesse library and I borrowed and read a fair proportion of it. This was the largest of all those books; Steppenwolf, The Prodigy and Klingsor’s Last Summer being fairly slim volumes. As a story it possessed a lot of the characteristics and concerns of the smaller books — reframing eastern philosophy in a way perhaps more palatable to the Western sensibility. I would say that Hesse more than any other person, apart from maybe Kerouac and Ginsberg, laid the foundations for the current interest in eastern modes of thinking. The primary difference in this book in comparison to the others is scale — the intricacy of the game described allows the culture within which it embedded to be described in a way that is more subtle than most science fiction is capable of. I always found the i-ching fascinating and this elucidated upon that and obviously weaved in some of its own ideas. As with all of  Hesse’s work the characters seem real and the story seems to have been paid careful attention to — you very rarely stumble around in Hesse’s stories: everything seems designed to be in exactly the place you find it. Of course this could be the quality of the translation but that idea doesn’t hold when you look at the number of books and how brilliant they are. Hesse was a genius — able to take the complex and make it read simply; that takes true talent. All of his books are a joy to read — they are touching and they make you think and sometimes, as with this book, they are capable of changing your life. —————- Now playing: Blur – m.o.r. via FoxyTunes

One Reply to “Turn The Page: The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse”

  1. What we like about this book, which we have read numerous times, is that the relationships among the characters is analogous to the game, as if Hesse were giving us tools to interpret the book and, thus, our own experiences. And because the premise of the glass bead game is pretty neat.

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