Amalgamemnonby Christine Brooke-Rose
A woman about to lose her job as a professor of literature and history delivers a passionate, witty, and word-mad monologue in this inventive novel, which was called "brilliant" (The Listener), "dazzling" (The Guardian), "elegant, rueful and witty" (The Observer) upon its original publication in England in 1984. History and literature seem to be losing ground to the brave new world of electronic media and technology, and battle lines are being drawn between the humanities and technology, the first world and the third world, women and men. Narrator Mira Enketei erases those boundaries in her punning monologue, blurring the texts of Herodotus with the callers to a talk-radio program, and blending contemporary history with ancient: fairy-tale and literal/invented people (the kidnappers of capitalism, a girl-warrior from Somalia, a pop singer, a political writer), connected by an elaborate mock-genealogy stretching back to the Greek gods, move in and out of each other's stories. The narrator sometimes sees herself as Cassandra, condemned by Apollo to prophesy but never to be believed, enslaved by Agamemnon after the fall of Troy. Brooke-Rose amalgamates ancient literature with modern crises to produce a powerful novel about the future of culture.
"Brilliant." (The Listener 3-14-85)
"This sort of metafiction can start like a rocket, then fizzle, but Christine Brooke-Rose's novel keeps gaining momentum, blazes with wit and regains for fiction some of the territory lost to critics in recent raids. On all counts it deserves the three stars from Orion's belt. Dazzling." (The Guardian)
"[Amalgamemnon] is an elegant, rueful and witty word-game about what it feels like to be a word-addictworse, a writing addictin the brave new world of communications technology." (The Observer 11-18-84)
"[I]t comes as a welcome relief to find one's intelligence forced into action, one's knowledge of cultural traditions taxed, and stylish wit and cultivated taste regarded as of vital importance. For Christine Brooke-Rose there is no kowtowing to fashion. . . . [Amalgamemnon] is a veritable tour-de-force of language exploitation and manipulation." (American Book Review Jan-Feb 86)
"[Amalgamemnon] will surely feature in the literary histories when Booker contenders have faded away. Only 140 pages, but informed by a delight in language and word-play that attracts the pejorative label 'experimental' (authors should not display too much inventiveness and intelligence or be influenced by French modes if British). An ideal gift for readers who like to keep their wits about them." (The Bookseller 11-24-84)
- Carcanet Press, Limited
- Publication date:
Meet the Author
Christine Brooke-Rose, formerly a professor at the Universite de Paris, and now retired, lives in France. She is the author of several works of literary criticism and a number of novels, including Amalgamemnon and Xorander.
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