Read Der Geist des Apothekers by Penelope Lively Online


A seventeenth-century sorcerer emerges in an old house as a poltergeist and targets James as his apprentice....

Title : Der Geist des Apothekers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9783938899137
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Der Geist des Apothekers Reviews

  • Lynne
    2019-03-01 07:04

    Annual re-read. First encountered at the age of ten, in primary school (in fact I still have Mrs. Halsall's own copy, sorry, Miss) and loved since. Lively's enduring ghost story tells of James Harrison being haunted by a bad-tempered C17th poltergeist whose distaste of the modern world manifests itself in vandalism and arson as well as writing angry notes. Entertaining and engaging, although much of the language is probably, and sadly, beyond a lot of today's ten-year-olds - phlegmatic for example. Beautifully written, with some lyrical descriptions of the Oxfordshire countryside, the ending of this, is, possibly one of my favourite pieces of fiction. Lively captures the atmosphere of James, drained after what has occurred with Kempe, walking home to tea, with time stretching both ahead and behind, perfectly.This was my introduction to Lively's other supernatural themed children's novels and an awakening of a taste for the gothic which has never disappeared. I even wrote my PGCE dissertation on it.Have to add that the old adage of never meeting one's heroes rings true in this case. Several years ago, I met Penelope Lively at a conference and asked her what did she think made Thomas Kempe such a favourite. Her response? 'I don't know.' Exit one very crushed former ten year-old.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-18 05:10

    James has recently moved to an old house. Soon mysterious writting appears and James starts to uncover the past. In parts this book has a lovely sense of hunour and the main character is reminiscent of Just William.

  • Shonna Froebel
    2019-02-22 10:12

    This children's novel centers on a young boy, James and his family. They've recently moved into an old stone cottage in Oxfordshire, and the attic room has been fixed up for James' bedroom. Besides James there is his sister Helen and their parents. Shortly after they moved in, a dog appeared and joined the family, and James named him Tim. Strange things are happening around the house and James is getting the blame, but he isn't responsible. Gradually James begins to realize that there is a ghost that seems to be behind it all, and he looks for more information about ghosts, and how to get rid of them.It is only when he learns more about his ghost's circumstances and tries to communicate with it that he begins to have success. But first there is much trouble, not only for James, but for his community as well.It is interesting to watch this young boy problem solve, looking for information, finding allies, and being open to different options. A great story.

  • Beth Bonini
    2019-02-25 07:04

    I really want a 3.5 rating.For me, that would mean "this book is good at what it does but it has not completely engaged me."This is a ghost story that plays it straight; in other words, it takes the idea of ghosts seriously.When James and his family move into an old house, all sorts of strange disturbances plague them. James attributes their cause to the ghost of Thomas Kempe, who quickly reveals himself to the boy; everyone else, too rational for ghosts, believe that James is to blame for all of the mischief. James has a problem, then. How to get rid of a ghost?Lively is a wonderful writer, and I enjoyed this story, but this is a book that should be read by the audience it was intended for (ages 9-12). I definitely wasn't the ideal reader! This is a Carnegie Medal winner from 1973. All things considered, the book has held up well and there aren't too many details that would be lost on the modern child. I'm including it as a "classic" book in the series that I'm doing on ghost stories.

  • ☺Trish
    2019-03-19 05:53

    Wonderful book from beginning to end!

  • Ivan
    2019-03-02 08:13

    This was a great little page turner. Not at all scary - the ghost is more obnoxious and annoying then frightening. It's a strong story well told.

  • Subashini
    2019-03-19 03:08

    I loved this delightful, charming book about a boy and his ghost. I bought it as a gift but could not stop reading once I had started. Lively's prose is, well, lively (sorry), and the book is shot through with generosity of spirit, wit, humour, and warmth. This was light without being trite. It's how a children's book should be. It also makes me want to seek out more of Lively's writing.

  • C.
    2019-02-26 03:59

    Despite an irksome beginning I enjoyed this novel’s uniqueness, a protagonist who was eventually relatable, and a tour of archaic crypts. In a typical English village: the parish and school have run for eons, residents have traversed those generations, and so have the houses. Thus when workmen renovate an attic for the son of new homebuyers, they uncork a pest. Many would relish acquainting a ghost but this was an egocentric sorcerer.A drawback to children’s literature, from whence much of my ghost fare must be quenched, is that authors sometimes dwell on family bickering. I for one have no taste to read that. I was relieved Penelope Lively did not persist in this and that focus was mustered on her tale’s task. I understand it suited these circumstances to illustrate that James, by design or by accident, had borne responsibility for a few gaffes and that his word was not sacrosanct automatically. When Thomas manifests, first subtly in James’ room, than by attempts to force him into servitude; boldly denouncing the entity to his parents isn’t feasible. I disagreed with this because much of the pestering was demonstrable. However his Father is presented as the worst kind of closed-minded clod.Something else that rang falsely is workmen discarding historic papers. I think of no crew who would be granted this liberty, none who would undervalue epistolary artifacts, nor any occupants whose intrigue wouldn’t be peaked. Their resurrection from a trash heap was a rub. However the warmth of the story spiked thereafter. A diary acquaints James with a darling Aunt and visiting nephew, who endured Thomas long before and she believed him implicitly. They truly felt like allies and brought James solace. A pleasing twist is the Harrisons’ neighbour. Far from being sour, she helpfully clued James into mysticism.

  • Nigel
    2019-03-17 10:09

    This is a conventional ghost story because it is about a boy being haunted by a ghost. It is an unconventional ghost story because it is not scary, nor is it trying to be. The boy is never scared, just irritated and put out. He only really starts to get scared when something terrible nearly happens to someone else. James Harrison is being haunted by the ghost of Thomas Kempe, a sorcerer who lived in his house hundreds of years before. Now as a ghost he wishes to reestablish himself as a sorcerer, with James as his apprentice. Leaving messages for James, committing odd acts of vandalism in the town and making a poltergeisty nuisance of himself around the house, he gets James in worse and worse trouble. James needs to get rid of Thomas Kempe, and soon.This is a very funny book, and most of the humour comes from James: imaginative, self-centred but utterly prosaic and completely sure of himself. James is difficult in terms of creating messes and trouble and getting into scrapes, but he isn't mean, except perhaps a little to his sister. He's a sort of slightly less Williamy Just William, but Williamy enough to cause headaches. What happens over the course of the book, particularly after James discovers the journal of a woman and her nephew similarly haunted, is an odd, subtle growth. James' prodigious but self-absorbed imagination begins the process of transformation into empathy and awareness. It's sweet and touching as James forms a curious bond with two people long dead and begins to see the people around him as more than they appear.A subtle, witty book, sharply written, and the combination of sharp subtle wit is irresistible. Its exploration of a young boy awakening to the world around him, the world of other people who are at first almost like supernatural things from another time, is warm and wonderful and wise.

  • Caren
    2019-03-07 09:07

    This book, which won the Carnegie Medal in 1973, seemed a good seasonal selection. (The author, who is now 80, has also won the Booker Prize for an adult novel.) As a ghost story, this book is not actually scary; rather , it is a thoughtful story that spotlights the flow of time. It brought to my mind the Green Knowe books of Lucy Boston. The young protagonist is not in a large manor house, but in a centuries-old cottage. Still, the pressure of past lives intruding on present ones is a similar feature in these books. (The British do this sort of book very well. Maybe living so closely with history inspires these sorts of stories.) In this book, James and his family have moved into an old cottage that was recently updated. In the course of renovating the attic, which will be James' bedroom, the poltergeist of a seventeenth-century sorcerer was released. The book makes clear that he is a poltergeist, not a ghost, because he doesn't manifest himself visually, but through actions. Doors slam, drafts creep around the family, and worst of all, Thomas Kempe leaves notes and scrawled instructions to James, whom he considers to be his new apprentice. No one in his family believes in ghosts, so James bears the blame for most of the destruction Thomas Kempe brings. In desperation, James turns to an elderly neighbor for advice. She gives him the name of an exorcist whose day-job is as a carpenter/handyman. In the meantime, when James explores the pile of rubbish the workmen have dumped in the orchard, he discovers an old diary that brings another young boy, from more than a hundred years in the past, to life for him. It is this play of characters across centuries that makes for a fascinating read. This is a gentle, but thought-provoking, ghost story.

  • Pam Baddeley
    2019-02-28 03:02

    Interesting tale from the 1970s of a boy, James, who moves into an old cottage where the attic has been converted into a bedroom for him, and in the process workmen have disturbed the bottle prison of a troubled spirit from the 17th century, Thomas Kempe. Soon Kempe begins impinging on James' life, insisting that the boy be his apprentice and publicise Kempe's many sorcerous talents for finding lost objects and providing services such as alchemy. Kempe doesn't 'get' modern life and his response is frustrated destruction for which James is repeatedly blamed, although he does find an ally in Bert, a local tradesman. Apart from him everyone, even a local boy that James befriends, doesn't believe in ghosts.James' explorations turn up an old diary and evidence that Kempe caused such problems in the Victorian era and was dealt with by being shut up in the bottle with the attic room locked and never used since. Kempe's activities escalate until he starts endangering life. The story does build to a climax which then dissipates slightly into a fairly gentle resolution though unlike the other book by this author that I have read, The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, the ending is more satisfying.

  • Erin
    2019-03-11 06:12

    I'm 13 and we had to read this in my english class for school work. I honestly found the book very boring and slow, there was nothing that caught my attention or made me want to read more. My class of 20 students all agree with me. This book should be aimed towards a much younger audience of 7-9 years, though I can't see it ever entertaining me as I was reading Harry Potter at that age.

  • Jacqui Spink
    2019-03-08 04:47

    Just finished reading this and really enjoyed it - not at all scary, told in the quite matter of fact voice of a young boy - some lovely observations about family life, a little historical information and a nice resolution. Can't wait for Maddy to read it and have added some other Penelope Lively books to our library.

  • David Tendo
    2019-03-07 05:58

    This was witty and a lot of fun, in the same vein as Roald Dahl.

  • Shawn Tipton
    2019-02-27 10:07

    What a pleasure to once again read this classic blast from the past novel that I first encountered in the mid-1990s in middle school (UK). Penelope Lively does such a fantastic job in bringing the Oxfordshire town of Ledsham and the Characters therein alive. Brief summary follows - The Harrisons have just moved into East End Cottage on the edge of Ledsham in the early 1970s, things are going well for the family and our protagonist James, aged 10 in particular, yet the book waits for no one and the first several pages sees the 17th century ghost of Thomas Kempe up to no good, that is wrecking Mrs Harrison's blackboard. James at first ignores it and the minor weird happenings as the result of either the old house or his new friend Simon (who spends the novel not really believing James too much). Yet as the novel progresses and Thomas Kempe's antics get ever worse, James correctly comes to the conclusion that East End Cottage is haunted and despite being ever blamed for Kempe's antics by his parents and some of the townspeople, James soon learns that many adults in Ledsham are open to ghosts and the supernatural and thus seeks the help of a builder/exorcist named Bert. Around all this, James grows ever more desperate, in the wake of much more serious actions around Ledsham by Kempe, such as vandalism and setting a house on fire and James resigns himself to the idea of never getting rid of Kempe. Finally, in the novel's final moments, Bert and James find Kempe's grave under a church and successfully exorcise him and the novel ends with James Harrison, a changed person, walking back home, fully contented and filled with hope.ConclusionFrom start to finish, the novel inspires the reader, both child and adult's imagination. As previously mentioned, P.Lively does a fantastic job in bringing the world of Ledsham and the characters alive.In many ways, I am glad that a sequel novel was never written as it would take away from the originality and enjoyability of the novel. What happens after the events of the novel are left to the reader's imagination, as it should be.Regardless, I will always recommend this novel to juveniles and adults alike as essential reading.Interestingly, James would be in his mid 50s by now. I wonder if in growing up, James did indeed become Dr James Harrison.

  • Juliet Mike
    2019-03-17 09:02

    In summary, James encounters a poltergeist. The ghost of Thomas Kempe is initially mischievous, but mischief escalates to vandalism and then to arson. James is under suspicion but his family and friends don’t believe in ghosts so he cannot explain what is happening.There is a coming of age element to the story. James, imaginative and resourceful, has to find his way through the problem without his parents support. First he seeks information (I love the depiction of the public library- and it is always an excellent place to start if you have a problem to solve!). He subtly enquires amongst friends, neighbours, teachers and other people in his life, eventually finding a comforting and practical ally in Bert- the handyman-cum-exorcist! Also, James finds great support from Aunt Fanny’s encounters with Thomas Kempe, as told through her diary.The sense of history in the story is palpable - Ledsham is a village where families have lived for years. Old people, such as neighbour Mrs Verity, are acknowledged to have had interesting lives and childhoods. The details of Thomas Kempe’s time in the 17th century are most wonderfully evoked- apothecaries, alchemists, witches... It is so interesting watching Thomas Kempe rail against the modern-day authorities of police and medicine, and his seventeenth century attitude to Mrs Verity and the archaeologists. Plus there is another historical layer from the Victorian era- from the diary of Aunt Fanny and the portrait of Arnold. Arnold’s presence in James’ life is beautifully created.Although it is a ghost story, it is not scary. James gets the resolution he needs, and Bert helps him to respectfully lay Thomas Kempe to rest again.

  • Selvianty Selvianty
    2019-03-07 07:46

    James was a cheerful and bright young lad who liked to made pranks and teased his sister. When The Harrison family moved to this old house, all sorts of poltergeists started. And only James knew what it was or who was causing it. I got chuckles from everytime he teased Helen, his sister and sensed his frustrations about this ruckus caused by an ancient sorcerer's spirit that still lingers in the house. When things escalated, James grew sorrowful, he's no longer playful. he's helpless. I enjoyed this book so much and it has been quite an adventure.

  • Vcmc
    2019-03-05 04:50

    A good children's book. The plot is simple and flies along but woven around it are reflections on aging and remembering the past. The parents are great- unsentimental, direct and essentially decent. I like the picture of the village that we get, rooted in its place, weathered by time and essentially unchanging.

  • Siti Noor Afiq Idris
    2019-03-13 07:12

    Not exactly what I was anticipating for. It is true to the title, but there is not much spooky/scary elements added in (to my relief as i do not like scary stuffs, but also a let down cos the title made me thought there will be scary element). Also, I find it quite difficult to read Thomas' messages which were written in weird spelling.

  • Angela Tuson
    2019-02-17 09:54

    Penelope Lively's writing is always the draw for me; when I find another book by her I jump straight into it. This is my favourite so far, the first one I read. The ghostly Thomas would not have been out of place at Hogwarts.

  • Mckinley
    2019-02-27 05:01

    Liked parts but didn't like the pace overall or the writing style.

  • Bonnie
    2019-03-03 03:04

    It's well written but she's no J. K. Rowling when it comes to telling a story. I don't think we'll pass it on to our 10-year-old granddaughter who is a Harry Potter fan.

  • Michael McFarland
    2019-03-09 04:50

    Wish I'd read this in 1973, when it came out. I'd've been 10 at the time...

  • Ian McNair
    2019-02-27 07:44

    A suitable story for children? No. I'd hate to be the parent comforting a child who had nightmares after reading this.

  • Katrina
    2019-03-08 08:49

    A good read for children of all ages.

  • Heidi
    2019-02-18 08:05

    This was my first book by Penelope Lively. I have one of her adult fiction books lined up to read soon. But something about this book pulled me to read it first. I bought three of her children's ghost stories. I am going to pass them on to my grand niece when she comes to visit me in Holland this coming summer. I am hoping she will enjoy as much as I did. James is a young boy who has moved in on old cottage at the end of East End Lane which is the last house in the village of Ledsham. When his parents bought East End Cottage, they had to restored to move in creating a wonderful bedroom up in the attic for James. This room seemed to have been neglected for very many years. James was enjoying his own room in the house overlooking the church when he noticed thumps and bumps. He starts to discover written messages. The handwriting is very flowery looking and the spelling is awfully strange. But as the days pass, he discovers that the ghost of Thomas Kempe is living in his bedroom. He is a sorcerer and has decided that James is to be his assistant. James is not sure about this and is not happy that he keeps getting blamed for the events that are caused by this mischievous spook. This book is fun for children of all ages. The characters are great fun and bring East End Cottage and Ledsham to life. You find yourself walking in the village in your mind, running amongst the apple trees with James and Simon, turning cartwheels in the garden with Helen, and smiling at the gossip of Mrs. Verity or the proper Vicar and bicycling along with Bert Ellison.

  • Fran
    2019-02-18 09:11

    I have such vivid memories of listening to this when it was serialised on Radio 5, back before Radio 5 was turned into the sports station. They used to serialise dramatised children's books, and this was one that they did (The Conjuror's Game is another that I remember). I recall being really quite terrified when listening to this; reading the book as an adult didn't frighten me at all (except (view spoiler)[at the very end, down in the crypt when it gets a little eerie (hide spoiler)]). Largely, I found the antics of Thos. Kempe mildly amusing - until the end, that is, when they became more serious. I think it's the way he expresses himself in his notes, they're unintentionally comedic. It's a fantastically well written book; the language is so expressive that you get a real picture of the cottage, and the village, that James lives in. The characterisation is brilliant too, you get a real distinct sense of each individual. You know how, sometimes, when you re-read a book (or watch a film) that you have fond nostalgic memories of as an adult, it doesn't live up to your memory? Well, not this one. If anything, I've developed more of an appreciation for it. It really is a beautifully written book, and a story that anyone could enjoy. I wonder if I've still got the tapes that this is recorded on...

  • John Mccullough
    2019-02-23 09:10

    This is another "keeping-up-with-the-grandkids" book. And this is an "early" Penelope Lively book written for young adults but still enough good stuff for the older crowd, including me. The Harrisons move into an old house in a small Oxfordshire village. James, their son, draws an attic room that hasn't been lived in for years and years. Workmen renovating the room for him find a bottle hidden in the wall plaster and accidentally drop it. Oh, oh. Soon Master James is confronted by an angry poltergeist names "Thos Kempe." Kempe makes all sorts of unfortunate things happen, for which James is blamed. James slowly discovers what this "thing" is, who it is and attempts to deal with Kempe, discovering his secrets slowly, like "peeling an onion." A good ghost story for young and even old. Lively later went on to win a Booker Prize but has lost the magical ability to write for the younger crowd, alas!

  • Andy Weston
    2019-03-07 05:13

    Originally published in 1973 and recently reissued Penelope Lively's ghost story is aimed at children aged about 10 to 14. Despite that I took a quick read of the copy I had as a present for my nephew and was richly entertained.Amongst her skills is to write a suitably haunting story for that age group. The young protagonist encounters many of the classic constituents of a good ghost story; he moves to an old gothic house, a graveyard, and buried treasure. What goes down best with this age group I suggest is having useless adults, who have almost no role to play in the book at all. It is a great introduction to what could in a few years be MR James, Poe, Susan Hill and more.

  • Claire (Book Blog Bird)
    2019-03-17 04:07

    This was my absolute favourite book of all time when I was nine. I'm older than dirt so this was a long time ago, but I still firmly believe that The Ghost Of Thomas Kemp is an all-time children's classic.It's the story of a young boy who moves into an old cottage with his parents and sister and his bedroom is haunted by a poltergeist who keeps causing trouble for him.Loads of people have never heard of this book and it's a real shame because it's such a good read. If you have a young person in your life you should totally buy this book for them.