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Tours of the Black Clock (1989)

by Steve Erickson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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281368,630 (3.73)30
Cutting a terrifying path from a Pennsylvania farm to the Europe of the 1930s, Banning Jainlight becomes the private pornographer of the world's most evil man. In a Vienna window, he glimpses the face of a lost erotic dream, and from there travels to the Twentieth Century's darkest corner to confront its shocked and secret conscience. One of Steve Erickson's most acclaimed novels, Tours of the Black Clock crosses the intersections of passion and power and gazes into a clock with no face, where memory is the gravity of time and all the numbers fall like rain.… (more)

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This is a compact book. The contents seem effortlessly written, and read like watching water flowing. There's no hardship in reading this book, apart from the contents; I won't go into details that may spoil this for you, but it's big, and I actually felt as though two books had finished by the time I was 11% into it.

The author's use of language is commendable, as it's easy to read and digest, while the characters and their inner thoughts are less palatable (to me, at least), but are so interesting, that I kept wanting more and more of the book. After half of it, interest waned, but picked up again after circa 70%.

I'll recommend this to all; it's a two-punch book, first for the use of language which I've seldom seen, and second, for the contents; the plot twists, turns, churns and is truly imaginative. Shan't say more. Go read. ( )
  pivic | Mar 20, 2020 |
Lives intersect across time and across borders against a backdrop of World War Two. Erickson conjures up a potent mix of alternative history, gritty noirish realism, and hallucinatory dislocation, but his characters frequently seem overmatched by the weightiness of the author’s themes. At times Erickson’s prose combines suspense and a kind of pleasurable derangement, with the reader as a luxuriating frog in the kettle soon-to-boil. At other times it seems as if his intent is too simple for his clever pen.

Petyr’s such an unsettling little worm that the day Kronehelm arrives I’m almost happy to see him slither in with his trunks and crates and immediately pull the curtains even tighter so that the thinnest slice of dank gray European light can come through. Kronehelm throws his arms around me and begins to cry with joy; I guess he figured I’d never really show up. After a few more days I know something’s got to give, what with three freaks waddling from one dark room to the next publishing obscene books for the private collections of deformed midgets in Berlin five hundred kilometers away. You just know that kind of enterprise is going to have one or two pressure points somewhere.

Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen
4 vote MusicalGlass | Aug 3, 2010 |
Some brief remarks (not really a review):

http://www.jgoodwin.net/?p=785
1 vote joncgoodwin | May 3, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steve Ericksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, ChristopherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Cutting a terrifying path from a Pennsylvania farm to the Europe of the 1930s, Banning Jainlight becomes the private pornographer of the world's most evil man. In a Vienna window, he glimpses the face of a lost erotic dream, and from there travels to the Twentieth Century's darkest corner to confront its shocked and secret conscience. One of Steve Erickson's most acclaimed novels, Tours of the Black Clock crosses the intersections of passion and power and gazes into a clock with no face, where memory is the gravity of time and all the numbers fall like rain.

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