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Daemonomania by John Crowley

Daemonomania (2000)

by John Crowley

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    Doctor Sleep by Madison Smartt Bell (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Late-20th-century Brunian magi in perplexity.

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Of all of the books in the series so far, I think I have enjoyed this one the most. It has much more of a plot than the others: Pierce Moffet, the main character (who I found somewhat more likable than in the earlier volumes) is distressed when his lover joins a charismatic Christian cult that promises her happiness. Pierce isn't sure whether or not he should interfere in her new-found religious beliefs. Meanwhile, Rose Mucho (my favorite character in the series) is dealing with her young daughter Sam's epilepsy. Rose's husband Mike is also a member of the charismatic Christian cult, and believes the cult has the power to heal Sam.

The book explores the nature of belief and even of reality. I feel like the first two books have just been giving the readers the background on the characters so that this third one can start to really explore how the characters react under stress. Now that we know the characters very well, we can start to find it interesting when they deal with difficult situations.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this whole series, but I have felt a little stranded all the way through. Crowley's writing is a joy to read, whether anything interesting is happening in the book or not. I feel like I'm not quite smart enough to fully understand why I have been led through such intimate details in the characters' lives. There are a lot of characters and a lot of sub-plots that don't seem to serve any purpose yet. I'm really hoping this will all come together in the fourth book. ( )
1 vote Gwendydd | Jan 23, 2010 |
As always, beautifully written, but doesn't seem to advance the story much. What is the point of Bobby Shaftoe and the many, many repetitions of the war between witches and werewolves? ( )
  MuseofIre | Jul 10, 2009 |
  georgematt | Apr 10, 2009 |
galley copy ( )
  bryanpk | Aug 6, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553100041, Hardcover)

John Crowley's powerfully mysterious Dæmonomania adds flesh to the world he imagined in Ægypt and Love and Sleep. In this book, as in all his books, Crowley transports faithful readers to a place where time, place, and meaning come unstuck. It is in some ways the story of the end of the world as it might be, or might have been, a novel of history, eschatology, and faith with unforgettable characters and hauntingly lovely sentences. If the world's end is neither bang nor whimper but "like the shivers that pass over a horse's skin," how is it perceived by the people living through it?

Historian Pierce Moffett finds his key to understanding in New York state's Faraway Hills, as do his lover, Rose Ryder, and single mom Rosie Rasmussen, whose daughter seems to suffer from dæmonomania--spiritual possession by Renaissance magician John Dee. Each character must pick a careful path between the colliding juggernauts of past and present, magic and mundane. The wind of apocalypse is blowing:

"Scary wind.... What if it's the one?" she said.

"What one?" he said.... He in fact knew what one, for it was from him that she had heard mythologies of wind, how it bloweth where it listeth, one part of Nature not under God's thumb and therefore perhaps at the disposal of our Enemy; she had heard his stories about changer winds, how one had once blown away the Spanish Armada and thus saved England from Catholic conquest, a famous wind which if you went to look for it in the records of the time wasn't there.

In typical Crowley style, magic is seamlessly woven into the narrative. Pierce is writing the story of the end of the world while it happens, Rose joins a cult that promises salvation, and Rosie inherits a spooky legacy that might hold the secret to saving her daughter. All are involved in deep exchanges of power, and all must yield to what Crowley calls the "queasy pressure of Fate."

Crowley describes Dæmonomania best when he writes about Pierce's book: "The book... was about magic, secret histories, and the End of the World, an event that Pierce would suggest was under way undetectably even as he wrote, as the reader read." This is a complex, disturbing, and beautiful book, one that will bear rereading. Crowley's writing is gorgeous in places, frustrating in others, but always irresistible. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

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