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Love & Sleep by John Crowley

Love & Sleep

by John Crowley

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494420,689 (4.18)12
  1. 10
    Eros, Magic and the Murder of Professor Culianu by Ted Anton (bertilak)
    bertilak: John Crowley's association with Culianu is described in Ted Anton's book.

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Okay, so this is not exactly an easy read. I have to cop to the fact that there are entire sentences Crowley has written that just leave me clueless (both lexis and context can be baffling at times). And one ends up wondering – even after finishing this second book in a series of four – whether the first two books are just setup for the next ones. But, ultimately all these criticisms don’t really matter because Crowley has written a book that seems to be effortlessly dreamlike. It meanders in and out of time and randomly dips into magical realism. If you can stomach it and manage to plod your way through, you will never be the same. "Every now and then the observable universe passes through a sort of turnstile or baffle and comes out different on the other side..." ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Better than The Solitudes, or perhaps starts to flesh out some of the glaring empty spaces of that novel (meaning I should boost the first book’s rating). Reading the rest of the Ægypt Cycle is a necessity at this point.

Gripes: The Overlook Press edition (2008, ISBN 978-1-59020-015-5, printing 2) has a handful of layout errors in Genitor, chapter 14, actually resulting in lost text. On page 329: Another layout problem, but only one line duplicated from the bottom of p. 328 to the top of 329; no lines seem to be lost. Frustrating in such a well-crafted novel! ( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
Love & Sleep, the 2nd part of the Aegypt Cycle, is a novel of ideas but also a book about love, death and the disturbing magic of childhood; its characters as real as fiction can be. In short the whole quartet is shaping up to be a classic not only of fantasy but also contemporary literature, up there with Midnight’s Children, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Gravity’s Rainbow.

It’s difficult to write a short review as the dense symbolism and complexity of this book would require multiple reads, hard study and at least an essay of a few thousand words to do it justice. It continues the story of Pierce Moffett; his retreat to a town in the country to write a book about the secret history of the world. The first section of the novel returns to Pierce’s Catholic but liberal upbringing in the Kentucky Hills; a beautiful portrayal of the naïve but magical experiences of childhood and his sexual awakening. Pierce’s concept of the world working in a different way in the past, the way of the elaborate occult theories of the Renaissance, originates here, in his immature but bright mind.

It’s the story of other characters: Rosie Rasmussen, a single parent going through a difficult divorce, who inherits the Rasmussen Foundation from her wealthy elderly relative, Boney. Boney Rasmussen himself, a man who fears approaching death and hopes the dead historical novelist and once close friend, Fellowes Kraft, has found the alchemical Elixir of Life. And John Dee and Giordano Bruno (real life magicians and scholars from the 16th Century) who feature as characters in Kraft’s final unpublished novel, seeming to confirm Pierce Moffett’s view of history; a story within a story but relating to the main narrative.

What we have here is a domestic novel of interrelating characters concerned with the major themes of human life-love and death; but also with the history of ideas. How one paradigm or our understanding of the world changes into another as time or history moves forward-magic and its corresponding universe existed as concrete reality but were literally erased by the coming scientific revolution. Magic used to work but now it doesn’t and like the half remembered but powerfully lit magical kingdom of childhood, you can never return to that world.

If you want a novel that will make you think but also move you deeply this is the one (but of course start with the first volume-The Solitudes.) If you have an interest in the esoteric arts and the occult, enjoy the writings of Umberto Eco (especially Foucault’s Pendulum) or Borges or admire great modern literature in general you will love this. But for fans of conventional fantasy that is strong on plot but weak in originality and writing talent, please keep away. ( )
  georgematt | Oct 3, 2008 |
Excellent science fiction and a very unique world and social order included in it. ( )
  stpnwlf | Jul 17, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553096427, Hardcover)

Retaining as an adult his childhood beliefs in magic and imagination, Pierce Moffett realizes that his search for the hidden history of the world is just beginning. 20,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:36 -0400)

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