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Paper Grail [Mass Market Paperback]

James Blaylock

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Book Description

Dec 12 2012
A California museum curator goes to Mendocino to pick up a nineteenth-century woodcut sketch for his collection and runs into strange characters who seem to think the folded scrap of paper holds magnificent powers. Reprint. AB. PW.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (MM); Reprint edition (Dec 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441651275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441651276
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,350,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a misleadingly slow and uninspiring beginning, this supernatural thriller is enjoyable: a combination of Charles William's books War in Heaven and The Greater Trumps, but moved to a small town in Northern California. Here the Holy Grail is actually an origami cup which, folded to form different shapes, provides the owner with diverse powers. A quiet group of ordinary people have been helping Michael Graham, its guardian, to protect it. When Graham is about to die of old age, the Grail summons Howard Barton to visit his relatives and take over its guardianship. Of course, he has no idea that he has been summoned, nor even that the Grail exists, but neither factor stops Heloise Lamey and her greedy crew from using Howard to attempt to obtain the Grail for themselves. Blaylock ( The Last Coin ) redeems the familiarity of his plot with a gift for drawing characters who are eccentric in delightful and original ways, whichever side of the war they are on.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Museum curator Howard Barton's search for a lost sketch by the legendary artist Hoku-sai leads him to northern California where he becomes an unwitting front-line soldier in a battle between good and evil. Blaylock ( The Land of Dreams , LJ 8/87) ventures into the realm of magical realism as eccentric matrons and failed entrepreneurs assume mythic proportions in this witty and intelligent metaphysical novel. This crossover novel belongs equally well in literary and fantasy collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Offbeat Grail Quest Oct. 21 2001
By Pauline J. Alama - Published on
The quiet curator of a small museum in California has no idea what he's getting into when he begins a trip to claim a rare Japanese sketch for his museum. He finds himself in the middle of a life-and-death struggle for the Paper Grail, an origami cup with mystical powers over land and water. Blaylock slips adeptly from the everyday to the sublime, pitting unlikely heroes -- failed small businessmen and eccentrics -- against some pretty likely villains of our time: greedy real estate tycoons and cynics who would use the Grail's powers for their own aggrandizement rather than the good of the land. You're more likely to enjoy this beautifully written, highly literate book if you have read a good deal of Arthurian literature and if you're familiar with the Pre-Raphaelite artists of the late Victorian period. Fans of Tim Powers' _Last Call_ should definitely read _Paper Grail_: to judge by the dedications, the two authors were probably trading ideas the whole time they were writing.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to move to California Feb. 9 2000
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've known people who have lived in California and they never said it was anything like this. Perhaps if it was more like Blaylock's books and less like reality (that being earthquakes and mudslides and the constant feeling that the entire state is going to fall into the ocean . . . but darn isn't the weather nice?) I'd want to actually move there. In any event, in the hands of Blaylock the state and the entire coast becomes a magical place full of mystery and mundanity at the same time. Oddball characters strive for a powerful piece of paper while at the same time trying to pay their rent and get a date. All the people in this book are wonderfully strange (if they're the good guys) or bizarrely strange (if they're evil) but it gives the book a certain angle that very few of today have, the constant contrast between what's normal and what's magical and the thin line that separates them is great. It's fantasy that can exist without elves and trolls and stuff and still be epic and be finished in a concise three hundred pages without an entire two thousand year history. It's about real people and real magic and the things that it can make you do. Both good and bad. Simply put, it's for people who want to be entertained while at the same time immerse themselves in a place that's not all that different from where they might live. No matter how normal they're life might seem.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books July 13 2005
By Colin P. Lindsey - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love James Blaylock and his quirky, fun, bizarre, mysterious and hilarious novels and this one has to be my favorite. In point of fact, I gave this to my wife to read and it instantly became her favorite book as well. Now how often do married people ever agree? That's how good this book is.

Blaylock weaves an enthralling and soothing world that you love to enter and populates it with not-your-normal people; off-kilter and unlikely, yet intensely lovable heroes and comic-opera, bumbling yet really aggravating villains. Nothing quite like him anywhere, although Tim Powers (who is a friend and collaborator in novels sometimes) has a similar voice.

So go get youself this book, give yourself a night off, and have yourself a heck of good time. You'll never regret reading this one!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A folksy, poetical version of the X-files-- Dec 21 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Paper Grail is a delicious tale of an ordinary fellow, Howard, called north by clouds and a pelican to fufill his destiny among a cast of marvelous eccentrics. The book is in modern America, Northern California, or rather it reveals part of the true America, a mystically foggy land where circles of secret combatants are competing for an age-old power.
The plot traces this contest between the two rival bands through Howard's, the newcomer's, eyes. Along the way, all life's ordinariness is overturned, exposing subtle mysteries and mystical practices. Folksy eccentricity rules the day, both in the actions of the modern-day characters and with all the historical tie-ins to the likes of John Ruskin and G.K. Chesterton. The villainess, Heloise Lamey, contributes a satisfying evilness to the plot; she is quaint and pitiful while also being grostesque and frightening.
The mystical battle is strongly interwoven with the reality of twentieth-century life, paying rent, making a living, arson, sabotaged's a wonderful merger. As a bonus, a romantic subplot is developed throughout the book between Howard and his cousin, Sylvia. The pace of the book cultivates a magical, drifting ambience. The plot hangs together, but one must be willing to put aside contemporary fast-action expectations and allow the book to unfold and enjoy its poetic wanderings. Blaylock's work can change your life, bringing more whimsical smiles into your life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Universe in Small Things Dec 5 2004
By Jeff Edwards - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Blaylock novel I ever read, and it hooked me hard. Probably best labeled as Contemporary Fantasy, many of his books paint a world of eccentric heroes and off-beat villains, locked into bizarrely-magical combat in suburban America. 'The Paper Grail' puts an entirely new twist on the grail legend. Howard Barton, genial and somewhat bumbling curator, drives to Mendocino, California to acquire a 19th-century woodcut drawing for his museum's collection. In the process, he hopes to mend fences with his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia, and recapture the spark of romance that's been missing from his life ever since. Laying his hands on the drawing turns out to be a lot more difficult than he expects, and reconnecting with Sylvia isn't much easier. Along the way, he stumbles into the middle of a quiet but desperately earnest battle over the Holy Grail. To the keeper of the Grail goes incalculable power, and all the wrong people want it for all the wrong reasons.

Jeff Edwards, Author of "Torpedo: A Surface Warfare Thriller"

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