• James King

Exquisite Classic Literary Fiction that will keep you thinking after reading

The Glass Bead Game

by Herman Hesse

Genre: Classic Literary Fiction - Novel

191 Amazon customer reviews. Average rating - 4.5 Stars

Read more about the Glass Bead Game and buy it at Amazon


Herman Hesse’s final novel was published in 1943, and in 1946 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. When reading it, one should keep in mind that Hesse was anti-fascism and wrote the novel in the nineteen thirties when war was brewing in Europe.

“The Glass Bead Game is an ultra-aesthetic game which is played by the scholars, creamed off in childhood and nurtured in elite schools, in the province of Castalia. The Master of the Glass Bead Game, Joseph Knecht, holds the most exalted office in Castalia. He personifies the detachment, serenity and aesthetic vision which reward a life dedicated to perfection of the intellect. But can, indeed should, man live isolated from hunger, family, children, women, in a perfect world where passions are tamed by meditation, where academic discipline and order are paramount?
This is Herman Hesse’s great novel. It is a major contribution to contemporary philosophic literature and has a powerful vision of universality, the inner unity of man’s cultural ideals and his search for personal perfection and social responsibility.” – Amazon.


The Glass Bead Game became such a personal book for me that I found it difficult to review. Don’t be put off by the one-star reviews. Most classic literary fiction is not an easy read and The Glass Bead Game is without doubt a classic. It requires time, concentration, deep thought and cannot be rushed. I would hate to have to write a book blurb for it because I could never do it justice.

This Amazon reviewer helped me out by saying,

“I cannot imagine a better read as one approaches a transition in life. I now understand that preparing the soul, the state of mind, takes precedence over the more tangible aspects of change.” Veganmom

The Glass Bead Game is a wonderful novel, which I'm sorry took me nearly a lifetime to get around to reading. But I'm sure I would not have appreciated it fifty years ago, as I do now. If ever a book deserved a Nobel Prize this is it. There aren't enough superlatives to describe my feelings for this masterpiece. It is exquisite, and an acquired taste.

Read more about the Glass Bead Game and get it at Amazon

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