Golem of Bucharest


golem of bucharest
By Andrew Condous

‘L’Homme Récent’ MMXV

I have just received this book as purchased from the publisher.

My previous reviews of this publisher’s books HERE.

My previous review of a work by Andrew Condous HERE.

I intend to real-time review this book and, when I do, my thoughts will be found below or by clicking on this post’s title above.

A review by Des Lewis

9 thoughts on “Golem of Bucharest

  1. image

    This book is luxuriously upholstered with thick sturdy covers of living hide cut into by what appears to be a bowed figure pissing into an open grave, stiffly dust jacketed around them with a crisp cream cover as decorated with a stylised post-Picasso sketch of what I take to be the Golem in Bucharest. There are sixty stiff quality pages plus one pull-out artwork.
    My copy is numbered 25/85.

    As you can see from the photo above, that word is part of the overall title of the book on its title page…

    “A luxuriant decay saturated the fuscous walls, thickly infusing the entire hall with antiquated time.”

    Connected, to some lesser or greater degree, with the art world ethos and history deployed by this author’s book that I previously reviewed (link above), it seems to blend ‘boredom’ with ‘elation’, straight reporting with clottingly ornamental words (divided by italics and non-italics) and the ‘avant garde’ with clause-rich antiquation. These serio-comic documentary blends carry the text’s hallucinatory avant garden of plain and arcane words, eventually describing the mixed reception at the funeral of Horia Bonciu and his labyrinthine gaps and givens of fictional and non-fictional bibliography or CRYPTADIA (a word explained in a passage before the book even starts but somehow still within the book). A true story.

    The Elephant Parade

    “One elephant with a dusky, phaeic complexion…”

    Near where I live

    Near where I live

    A backstory as to Bonciu’s mysterious withdrawn ‘Parada Elefantilor’ leads to the people-music as the orchestra of commerce in Bucharest as part of this very Bonciu work now given us to read – as translated by Condous? – a work that is stunningly conveyed, as we learn about each elephant in this surrealistic vision that seems more real than reality itself before the sur- (prefix) was applied to it.


    The music of shoe shiners etc becomes a sort of lost Saint-Saens piece of cakewalk transformed into words.

    Peterborough Museum

    Peterborough Museum

    The trunks blast like trumpets as canons (of books), not cannons. And this story’s last line is the best last line I have read for ages and ages, if ever.

    Max Ernst

    Max Ernst

    Concert Bass Viol

    Bonciu’s poetic real-time reviews (hologrammed in English) of two of my favourite composers (see below which works of theirs) but also of two of my least favourite composers upon which I shall remain silent.

    image image

    These enticing thought streams – of surreal avant-garden of enjambemented Apollinaire, Eluard, Aragon, Eliot etc. type verse-thoughts upon the music or no doubt like Romanian poets of whom I am unaware – need to be absorbed more than once. I shall do so.
    They contain some more of those ornamental words I mentioned before, real words made to look like richly clotted neologisms.

    Although not in the same poetic class, HERE are my thought streams in 2002 upon the Symphonies of Malcolm Arnold.

  4. I imagine the Bass Viol as a sort of Baroque Continuo, that not only suits the Modernistic Baroqueness of this book but also is the undercurrent or continuo to it and to other books that I hope my real-time dreamcatching supplies.

    The Cobra


    There is no way I can give representational key quotes from this story. I have pencilled alongside nearly all its paragraphs ready for quoting – so many that I have decided I can quote none of them! This is a remarkable work of Weird Literature, a genuine classic. It is ostensibly an extract from Bonciu’s novel translated as ‘Snake with glasses’, for which we are given an intriguing backstory, a novel advertised in 1939 and again in 1945. Here, in the extract itself, again hologrammed in English, I feel that some of those types of clotted ornamental words I have described before become tantamount to various versions of that bone configuration (morphed into brain?) that I have shown above (serendipitously photographed by myself last weekend in a museum).
    We (you and I, literally) are led past the house in Bucharest where the Cobra lives, man, golem or what? The description of the house has to be read to be believed, the speculative contents and ambiance of his room, too, the Cobra him- or itself, the dust and scintillations of the universe while the very essence of gestalt real-time reviewing and its methods or circumstances are described better than I ever could manage to do, plus this Cobra creature’s potential interactions with the ‘shards’ of our own thoughts and memories without our realising it, and there is also a breathtaking description of this living-hide book itself, the very book in which we are uncovering these words with our eyes as well as mind. And after that textual labyrinth, we are finally invited to enter THE labyrinth. Stunning and staggering.

    The Book of Discomfort

    I hope I shall be forgiven, but, after quoting nothing from the previous substantive story, I am quoting below the whole first paragraph of this relatively short coda of a ‘story’.

    “Bonciu completed a collection of prose titled “O carte incomoda” in 1933 that remained unpublished and apart from a mere singular mention by the publisher Editura Vremea, the existence of this prose work has been completely forgotten, never publicly mentioned again, inclusive of by any literary commentator. Bonciu revealed very little about this book inclusive of his comments within his private letters. The only hint of its content suggests a book, a very serious book of prose that goes beyond causing discomfort, which is alluded to by its title, to something having a more deleterious effect. Cryptadia.”

    There follow what I take to be just over two pages representing an extract from this book, over which I shall draw a veil, except for:
    “Moving mind a patchwork of spinning hedrons,…”

    For the first time, having now read and real-time reviewed the whole of this remarkable book, I just this minute googled Bonciu and found his Wikipedia.


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