"A man in his daughter's bed is a link out of the human chain," broods the King, a father who has irrevocably crossed the age-old boundary between parent and child. Brilliantly imagined and deftly executed, this provocative literary fable of lust and obsession is the tale of two sets of brothers, one of each pair blessed with beauty and grace and the other physically cursed; two mothers, one an icy queen of a frozen kingdom and the other obsessed with her thousands of birds; two riddles spun by a mysterious Persian; and Amalasuntha, the Princess
"A man in his daughter's bed is a link out of the human chain," broods the King, a father who has irrevocably crossed the age-old boundary between parent and child. Brilliantly imagined and deftly executed, this provocative literary fable of lust and obsession is the tale of two sets of brothers, one of each pair blessed with beauty and grace and the other physically cursed; two mothers, one an icy queen of a frozen kingdom and the other obsessed with her thousands of birds; two riddles spun by a mysterious Persian; and Amalasuntha, the Princess whose father has placed her on top of a glass mountain to protect her from the lust of men, including his own. A taut and feverish tale of Oedipal tension and transformation that reverberates with the power of myth and folklore, The Glass Mountain is an astounding allegory for our time.
The narrator, Prince Fat Klaus, leads us masterfully through an intensely imagined world in this surprising fable by poet and Gothic expert Wolf ( The Essential Dracula ). His quest is to retrieve Amalanthusa, a princess set on a glass mountaintop by her lustful father. This astounding tale begins and ends in a tower, where Klaus and his rival, hare-lip Fritz, wait out the night, their lives unfolding in stories replete with fairy-tale elements: a ``Witch of the Woods,'' an evil goat, a Persian soothsayer with a riddle. The interlocked stories, all organized around the search for the beautiful princess, are often told to us by other characters. Klaus's controlled irony makes the fable current and immediate: ``I was a huge, fat man who had failed to outwit disaster.'' Themes of passion and loss are authoritatively contained by this incisive narration. The prose moves quickly, hypnotically, Klaus's voice the engine behind it. His steed dies and he observes from the tower ``the sound of ravens busy with my horse. Their beaks made a distinct click . . . '' Wolf's characters try and fail, often overtaken by erotic longings: violent male characters battle for sleeping, sexualized women. The mechanism of interlocked tales serves the novel's compression: the glass mountain, the witch's woods, the Eastern bazaar--these worlds are superbly crafted in terse, bold, musical language. (Dec.)
To free himself of an incestuous bond with his daughter Amalasunta, the King imprisons her atop a glass mountain and offers to give her to any man able to reach her. Wolf's psychosexual fairy tale recounts the efforts of two pairs of princely brothers to achieve this seemingly impossible feat. The novel begins as fat Klaus is ending a ten-year search for Amalasunta, whom his brother Hans has freed from her imprisonment. At a remote watchtower, Klaus meets the harelipped Fritz, who has aided his more attractive brother, Baldur, in the same quest. Klaus reviews the events that brought him to the point as he listens to Fritz recount his own tale. Gothic literature expert Wolf was a consultant on the film Bram Stoker's Dracula , with which the book shares many stylistic elements. For larger collections.-- Debbie Bogen schutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
It is necessary to sort through layers of intertwined stories in Wolf's novel to begin to comprehend this tale of two princes--the gifted, golden-haired Hans and his unseemly brother, Klaus. Questions arise, such as will Princess Amalusuntha, sequestered atop an impossible mountain of glass, be set free by one prince or the other? Perhaps it's academic, because further twisted tales unwind, as told by Fritz, an outcast. He, too, exists in the shadow of a far more clever brother, Baldur. The narrator's ugly Prince Klaus' memories appear finally to hold the key to this parable. But the only certainty is that this bleak and visionary work demands an unflinching willingness from the reader to search for meaning amid obscure symbols, dream images, incestuous incidents, and the presence of Oedipus lurking in the shadows.