The Glass Bead Game

  • by Hermann Hesse
  • Narrated by David Colacci
  • 21 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, which has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

One of Mankind's Best Books

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is not enough to say that this is a GREAT story for it's depth, wisdom and beauty are so evident that each word of Hesse's award winning novel moved me into places that only a true master could so magically conjure. I loved the reader as well and felt that the entire production was perfect. Thanks audible for providing such a service.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Glass Bead Game?

The masterful way in which Hermann Hesse concluded his story. It was pure genius.

Have you listened to any of David Colacci’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many to mention. But the story of how Knecht sacrificed himself was brilliantly conceived.

Any additional comments?

To me this book has been a favorite of mine for years and each time I read (and in this case listen) I am moved to new levels of just how vulnerable we are as humans and just how beautiful each of us plays out our unique role.

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- D. Raynal

A false dream ...

It is the last work of Herman Hesse, and his "Magnum Opus". In some sense the book is philosophical science-fiction, though there are no typical elements of sci-fi genre. The author predicts that the period in human history will come when the knowledge became wide-spread and popular, with multitude of authors writing multitude of stories. This period, called "The Age of Feuilleton" was highly individualistic. The main feature of the age was the passionate search of freedom.
At this moment comes the main prophecy of the book. Hesse predicts that on the ashes of the feuilletonistic age, new movement is born. The purpose of the order is the cultivation of science and music. The order cultivates highly elitist structure and its rule is as strong as the rules of religious orders. It also includes meditation and contemplation. The culmination of the order achievement is the synthesis of all sciences and music in an instrument called "glass bead game". A game, was a like a symphony but with deep scientific background. The main character of the book, Joseph Knecht, after swift carrier, becomes the chief Glass Bead Game custodian and player. The most of the book is about his life and his path - first to the order of Castalia, than through the rungs of the order hierarchy - to the startling decision to leave the order, and become "awaken" to the everyday life ...
Despite the end of the Jospeh Knecht story - Hesse, through the entire book, demonstrates the admiration to the concept of intellectual elitism, to the notion of "intellectual order" to the medieval concept of hierarchical knowledge, well organized, and integrated with the quintessence of art - with the classical music.

In some sense the Hesse prophecy is dangerous...

We no longer need "mental elite" - the current culture proved to be vibrant and precious. The human knowledge can, and is built, by millions of people, and we do not need any orders.
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- Mirek

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.