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Tropic of Cancer

Average Rating 3.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Not Really A Book

This "not really a book" plot-less, stream-of-consciousness, anti-everything, self-indulgent, crudely-rudely-gimme-some-boody, was one of the novels in the 1960s that tested USA laws about pornography. It is also regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century literature. Tim...
This "not really a book" plot-less, stream-of-consciousness, anti-everything, self-indulgent, crudely-rudely-gimme-some-boody, was one of the novels in the 1960s that tested USA laws about pornography. It is also regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century literature. Time magazine lists it in their 100 Best English-language novels from 1923-2005. The preface is supposed to have been written by Anais Nin, but many believe Miller wrote it. I've never been as impressed with Henry Miller and Henry Miller is impressed with Henry Miller, but I do appreciate his staggering (specifically chosen word) literary talent, his abrupt/curt one-liners, and some of his intoxicated poetic rantings/ramblings.

I first read Tropic of Cancer in a teen reading club. One boy in our group insisted that it is "an awesome read" if you are falling down drunk. One girl said she got a sexually transmitted disease from reading it---and she announced that she was going to stop engaging in one night stands, even with cute guys. One girl reviewed the book with her own curt one-liner, saying that "Tropic of Cancer was confetti of seediness" in her opinion. Three of us became even more determined to become "real" writers.

Jerry Seinfeld had a successful TV show about nothing. Maybe Jerry got his "nothing" idea from Miller. In a Seinfeld episode Jerry is accused of not returning Tropic of Cancer to the library after checking it out when he was in high school.

I admit, I'm no Miller scholar, but I think I can say anything I damn well please about this novel---Henry Miller couldn't care less.

posted by Author_DB_Pacini on June 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

If these are the 'fundamental realities', you can keep 'em.

I read Tropic of Cancer a couple of months after Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, also a semi-autobiographical novel of its expatriate author in Paris. The time periods are different (AMF set 13 years earlier) but the major difference is in the authors' lives and perceptio...
I read Tropic of Cancer a couple of months after Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, also a semi-autobiographical novel of its expatriate author in Paris. The time periods are different (AMF set 13 years earlier) but the major difference is in the authors' lives and perceptions. Diametrically opposed to Hemingway's burnished and cerebral Paris, TOC's is as sordid and squalid as imaginable. The story follows its protagonist on a seemingly unending filth ridden bacchnal: decit, disease, whores, purulence, weevils and lice suppurate the novel. Viscerally evocative and initally compeelling, after a while these seemy tales simply become tiresome. The prose is jarring and, while at times elegantly lyric in its depiction of the authors sordid affairs, tedious and diffuse. The narrative is a meandering tale, unintelligble and incoherent at times; and for the majority of the book, I was totally unengaged in any of the characters. However, by the conclusion, the protagonist's actions do coalesce to embody a personality, the events become coherent, and some of the fire and vitality other critics have spoken of is transmitted. Additonally, TOC is fascinating in its coarseness and vulgarity chronologically speaking. That Hemmingway and Miller could participate in the same Paris so differently, intriguingly bespeaks of the disconnect between public writing and private living. Bottom line: TOC is a chaotic and jarring book that for its majority reads like the methamphetamine-induced stream of conscious of a contemporary frat boy. One has long become disenchanted by the time its characters communicate their message.

posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2001

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2001

    If these are the 'fundamental realities', you can keep 'em.

    I read Tropic of Cancer a couple of months after Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, also a semi-autobiographical novel of its expatriate author in Paris. The time periods are different (AMF set 13 years earlier) but the major difference is in the authors' lives and perceptions. Diametrically opposed to Hemingway's burnished and cerebral Paris, TOC's is as sordid and squalid as imaginable. The story follows its protagonist on a seemingly unending filth ridden bacchnal: decit, disease, whores, purulence, weevils and lice suppurate the novel. Viscerally evocative and initally compeelling, after a while these seemy tales simply become tiresome. The prose is jarring and, while at times elegantly lyric in its depiction of the authors sordid affairs, tedious and diffuse. The narrative is a meandering tale, unintelligble and incoherent at times; and for the majority of the book, I was totally unengaged in any of the characters. However, by the conclusion, the protagonist's actions do coalesce to embody a personality, the events become coherent, and some of the fire and vitality other critics have spoken of is transmitted. Additonally, TOC is fascinating in its coarseness and vulgarity chronologically speaking. That Hemmingway and Miller could participate in the same Paris so differently, intriguingly bespeaks of the disconnect between public writing and private living. Bottom line: TOC is a chaotic and jarring book that for its majority reads like the methamphetamine-induced stream of conscious of a contemporary frat boy. One has long become disenchanted by the time its characters communicate their message.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Umm why is it called Tropic of Cancer?

    From what i can tell its not about cancer and the sample i got to see what it was didnt show the story at all, it just said stuff about the author.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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