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Tours of the Black Clock by Steve Erickson

Tours of the Black Clock (1989)

by Steve Erickson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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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.

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4 vote MusicalGlass | Aug 3, 2010 |
Some brief remarks (not really a review):

1 vote joncgoodwin | May 3, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steve Ericksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, ChristopherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074326570X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The course of a century is rewritten in this fabulously warped odyssey, named a best book of the year by the New York Times Tours of the Black Clock is a wild dream of the twentieth century as told by the ghost of Banning Jainlight. After a disturbing family secret is unearthed, Jainlight throws his father out of a window and burns down the Pennsylvania ranch where he grew up. He escapes to Vienna where he is commissioned to write pornography for a single customer identified as "Client X," which alters the trajectory of World War II. Eventually Jainlight is accompanied by an aged and senile Adolf Hitler back to America, where both men pursue the same lover. Tours of the Black Clock is a story in which history and the laws of space and time are unforgettably transformed.… (more)

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