Dream of Venus (or Living Pictures)

Dream of Venus (or Living Pictures)

by Miles Beller
     
 

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DREAM OF VENUS (OR LIVING PICTURES), a novel set in the 1939 New York World's Fair, is a speculative history reanimating the last great international fair this world would ever know. Meshing actualities with invention, DREAM OF VENUS renders a future past that is nostalgic and predictive, an account of hope and longing at the onset of World War II. Focusing on Zeke… See more details below

Overview

DREAM OF VENUS (OR LIVING PICTURES), a novel set in the 1939 New York World's Fair, is a speculative history reanimating the last great international fair this world would ever know. Meshing actualities with invention, DREAM OF VENUS renders a future past that is nostalgic and predictive, an account of hope and longing at the onset of World War II. Focusing on Zeke Lichtenquist - -an artist moved into the Fair's Town of Tomorrow -- VENUS takes us on a search for authenticity and meaning. Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and the Fair's president Grover Whalen all pop in and out, players in a fabled New York of the late 1930s.

Publishers Weekly compared the novel to the work of Nathaniel West, William Gaddis, and E.L. Doctorow, lauding DREAM for "challenging the distinction between fiction and fact." Book Magazine recommended DREAM OF VENUS as "a risky and ingenious experiment that makes the novel like the fairgrounds."

Donald Margulies praised DREAM OF VENUS as "an impressive work of historical fiction," the author deploying "the past as a prism through which he views our present and has ironic, witty, and disturbing things to say about the particular dream life of Americans."

Steve Erickson judged DREAM OF VENUS "the gateway to a secret new literature...beyond the limits of what today's constricted fiction can conceive."

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Editorial Reviews

Set against the background of the 1939 New York World's Fair, Miles Beller's Dream Of Venus follows the adventures of Zeke Lichtenquist (an artist recently moved into the fair's "Town of Tomorrow"). This is a small and interwoven world of science and strippers, tourist dollars and visions of a better future, even as the world was sliding inexorably into a world of war. Dream Of Venus is an enthusiastically recommended, highly original novel that grips the reader's imagination and attention from the very first page and won't let go until the last line of the last paragraph of the last chapter.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781478160717
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
07/09/2012
Pages:
322
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

What People are saying about this

A. J. Langguth
This exhilarating novel is a demented ramble through the 1939 World's Fair, with the Mutt and Jeff of the Trylon and Perisphere looming over the collapse of America's comic-book innocence. The dazzled reader seems to hear the spirits of Duchamp, Bernays, and Nathanael West applauding for Beller's vision of a lost Tomorrow. (A.J. Langguth, author of Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution and A Noise of War)
Steve Erickson
As the 1939 World's Fair was a gateway to history's secret imagination, poised between utopia and holocaust, so Miles Beller's Dream of Venus is the gateway to a secret new literature—spectacular, kaleidoscopic, constantly beyond the stroke of the minute hand, ruthlessly trampling the limits of what today's constricted fiction can conceive.
Helen Eisenbach
If Thomas Pynchon and the Coen brothers were trapped in a room, the creative result would be Dream of Venus, a vibrantly surreal, hypnotically demented evocation of artistic striving and supreme human folly. Miles Beller is a thrilling and genuine original. His Dream of Venus is assured of a passionate and devoted following. (Helen Eisenbach, author of Loonglow)
Ed Cray
The New York World's Fair of 1939 was a moment of optimistic futurism in this century, a last hurrah before the gathering storm broke. It was an art deco fantasy, apiece with Hollywood's romantic comedies, poised on the brink of cataclysm. What a setting for a novel that dances between dark and light. What a moment to explore good and evil. And all the better that the setting of Miles Beller's fiction is so evocative of time and place, America at the precise instant it assumed world leadership. (Ed Cray, author of General of the Army and Chief Justice)
Richard Stern
Richard Stern, author of The Chaleur Network, Golk, The Invention of the Real, The Position of the Body
Miles Beller has dared to write a book which sacrifices much of the usual linear movement of narrative for something else. He calls Dream of Venus 'Living Pictures,' but it makes me think much more of music. The book is a series of Jazz Riffs—some surreal—on characters and motifs associated with the great New York World's Fair of 1939-40. If the 'riffer'—here the writer—doesn't bring off the riff, the recital book won't work, but Beller like Bird, Monk or his namesake, Miles, succeeds again and again in creating one brilliant riff after another.
Norman Corwin
Norman Corwin, author of No Love Lost and On a Note of Triumph
Gentlemen, start your adjectives: brisk, vivid, sassy, quasi-documentary, iconoclastic, satiric, sardonic, morbid, unpredictable, witty, whimsical, startling, entertaining�in short, a damn good read.

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