Love and Sleep

Love and Sleep

by John Crowley

Hardcover

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Love and Sleep 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
georgematt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 philosophers, 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and Giordano Bruno (real life magicians and scholars from the 16th Century) who feature as characters in Kraft¿s final unpublished novel, seeming to confirm Pierce Moffett¿s view of history; a story within a story but relating to the main narrative.What we have here is a domestic novel of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 how we understand the world changes into another as time or history moves forward. Within this story 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. Likewise those who dislike the genres of the fantastic or fabulous might as well give this sequence of novels a wide berth; for although the supernatural is subtle interwoven into the text it is still a work of the imagination.