THE GOLEM: A Jewish Legend by Beverly Brodsky--Adapt. & Illus. McDermott

THE GOLEM: A Jewish Legend

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A skeletal version of the best known golem legend, about the rabbi of Prague whose clay helper/guard becomes an uncontrolled Frankenstein's monster, serves here as a backdrop for McDermott's lushly colored, painterly displays. The artist evokes the medieval period with free, rhythmic black outlines suggestive of stained glass work, and her Expressionist splash is better suited to the golem's tempestuous destruction than to the awkwardly concocted Crystal Apple (1974). But just as her version of this story sacrifices human specifics for an effect of reverberating power, the pictures--unmoving and remote despite the violence--are all spectacle, and just as heavy. And if the flames of the golem's creation are cleverly defined with the black shapes of Hebrew letters, the name of god tumbling out of its dying mouth in a yellow stream is merely ludicrous. A virtuoso performance, which many will find impressive; we'll settle for grandiose.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1976
Publisher: Lippincott