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If you didn't know that Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym, you might wonder if this Carroll ( A Child Across the Sky ) might be a relative. He, too, uses fanciful jests to point up common absurdities and makes fantasy seem altogether tangible. Here his narrator is a curmudgeonly genius, the aphorizing architect Harry Radcliffe, who, with the aid of a maverick therapist, has recently recovered from a mental collapse and is ready to reexamine his constructs of reality. He's also rebounding from an amicable divorce and conducts affairs with two fabulous females. Various developments--including an earthquake from which Radcliffe's party is miraculously rescued by a Middle Eastern sultan and the therapist's dog--oblige Radcliffe to accept the sultan's commission to build a vast dog museum. When war breaks out in the sultan's realm and he is killed, his son--a romantic rival for one of Radcliffe's lady loves--presses Radcliffe to build the museum on his property in Austria and promises to pay in magic. After further astonishing feats (leaping into other identities, the momentary reincarnation of the dead, etc.) the picaresque tone, surprisingly, yields at the end to a reprise of a biblical theme, turning this spirited novel into something like a moral tale.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Another surreal trip into magic realism by Carroll (A Child Across the Sky, 1990, etc.). This starts as if Carroll is going to rein in his fantasy, but the floor soon turns to Vaseline and the reader finds himself looking for handholds. Meanwhile, Harry Radcliffe, prize-winning architect, has a nervous breakdown while trying to hold onto two women at once, both of whom know about each other. Harry is being wooed by the Sultan of Saru to build a billion-dollar dog museum in Saru (a Mideast state where dogs are loathed): the Sultan thinks dogs are his best friends, his life having been saved three times by dogs. Harry's triangle with Claire and Fanny is not helped by a heavy California earthquake that takes Claire's hand. Harry tries to get a grip on his future by befriending a shaman, Venasque (who appeared in Sleeping in Flame, 1989, and will remind some of Castenada's Don Juan), who owns an amazing pig and dog. Venasque takes Harry through otherworldly learning experiences, then dies, as does his pig (he needs the pig for a later magical Austrian one- year-old who speaks English). Harry finally accepts the Sultan's offer and has an epiphany in his shower, seeing the museum as a kind of train engine standing on end like a steel ziggurat. As it happens, the museum can't be built in Saru, and so is built by Arab, American, and Austrian workmen in Austria. When Arab terrorists bomb this tower of Babel, God rebuilds the fallen structure, but only a third of the way: He is not completely happy with Harry's masterpiece. Though this summary barely suggests the greasy details and slippery path of the story, Carroll is admirable in going his own happy way as a cult writer. But his magic seldom takes a memorable turn or finds the unforgettable moment that draws the reader back to reexperience a serious beauty. Each page feels like a magpie's pastiche. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description