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Red Doc>

Red Doc>

5.0 1
by Anne Carson

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Some years ago I wrote a book about a boy named Geryon who was red and had wings and fell in love with Herakles. Recently I began to wonder what happened to them in later life. Red Doc> continues their adventures in a very different style and with changed names.

To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing.


Some years ago I wrote a book about a boy named Geryon who was red and had wings and fell in love with Herakles. Recently I began to wonder what happened to them in later life. Red Doc> continues their adventures in a very different style and with changed names.

To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Daisy Fried
Carson remains a master of idiosyncratic figures, delivering metaphor and simile casually and suddenly, while keeping her language idiomatically oddball…To read Carson is continually to be disoriented and reoriented, grabbed and dropped…Read this book. You'll find it hard to forget.
Publishers Weekly
Carson is one of the most famous poets writing in English; her many rabid fans await her new books with eager anticipation. A classicist by training, Carson has found, over a career spanning three decades and 14 books of poetry, prose, drama, and translation (often knitted together into unclassifiable collections), consistently new ways of reinventing the classical myths or of setting mythical material in a hip, jerky contemporary world. This new book is a sequel to the book that first made Carson famous, Autobiography of Red. It takes Geryon, the red demon-boy who starred in that book, ages him to adulthood, renames him “G,” and sets him loose in a confusing, fast-paced contemporary world. A kind of novel in (mostly) prose poetry, this book follows G through familial, erotic, and political discoveries on an eventual road trip with a lover named “Sad.” Throughout, Carson reveals a quirky wisdom, which feels as cool as it does true: “Time passes time does not pass. Time all but passes. Time usually passes.” (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“Breathtaking. . . . Personal, necessary and important. . . . Read this book. You’ll find it hard to forget.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A supraliterary, textually experimental landscape that only Carson could conjure. Ranging from frozen tundra to festive meadows, G’s odyssey features his dying mother, his war-veteran road-buddy lover, and a female artist friend in a wild hybrid narrative pushed to mythopoetic glory.” —Elle
“Carson’s lyrical language effortlessly lifts pure moments of hope and despair off the page. . . . Red Doc stands on its own—and takes the reader on a singular journey of longing and grief.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Carson’s red-winged anti-hero is still the crown prince of erotic, melancholy foibles. . . . Whether she’s talking war vets, flying cows, Latin etymology or Elvis, Carson once again blurs the lines of prose and poetry.” —American Poet
“Unexpected, dizzying.... Sure to be the verse event of the season." —Vogue.com
"[Carson's] phrases and images ... swoop and beguile like hidden messages. Cryptograms from other civilizations, or hoaxes perpetrated by pranksters by moonlight? Say what you will about Carson, she doesn't play it safe." —The New York Observer
"For every line of Carson's that's grave and pensive, another is funny, erotic, demotic, or dirty.... Even when the setting gets surreal, Carson never breaks faith with ordinary emotion. Red Doc is, at times, excruciating in its grief. Yet just when it threatens to become unbearable, just when you are hurling at terminal velocity toward the killing earth—just then everything that seemed broken comes together. Suddenly you are borne into the sky on words and stories, those human wings, up there with a thousand ice bats and a kind-hearted monster and a stoner cow and a solid column of volcanic smoke, seamed with brilliant flame." —New York Magazine
"A shape-shifting verse novel that's both playful and compelling." —Time Out New York
"The events in Red Doc, not so much recounted as erupting, have an instability suggestive of Alice in Wonderland.... As with a roller coaster, the transitions make us look forward to the next splendid plunge. And we plunge." —The Boston Globe
"Carson swings through a variety of techniques that refract the madness of war, from the systemic absurdism of Catch-22 to the post-modern flights of Gravity's Rainbow to the dead-bang temporal concussions of The Things They Carried.... Carson is funny—Lorrie Moore funny, Grace Paley funny—and Red Doc courses with a wit shot through with intelligence and humility.... Brushed with the magical, the absurd and the surreal." —Paste
"Parts of this book are shockingly moving, especially when she describes the impending death of G's mother. The poetry around their final meeting is strangely haunting in an understated way. It presents loss and our tenuous human interconnectedness in its fragile and mysterious passing.... Inspired." —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Red Doc is the sequel—sort of—to Autobiography of Red, one of the crossover classics of contemporary poetry. The book is strange and sweet and funny, and the remoteness of the ancient myth crossed with the familiarity of the modern setting creates a particularly Carsonian effect: the paradox of distant closeness.” —The New York Times Magazine
“If there is one book I’ve pressed on more people in the past decade, it is Carson's Autobiography of Red. And I’m here to tell you its sequel has just been published, and that it’s pretty much the biggest event of the year…. Red Doc is insightful, whimsical, erotic and sad.... If you like books to provoke you, dare you, even change the way you think, let me recommend this strange, wonderful pair of novels about a young red man. We all have volcanoes in our lives. Sometimes it takes someone else to show us how to survive them.” —Rosecrans Baldwin, NPR

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Red Doc>

By Anne Carson


Copyright © 2013 Anne Carson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307960580

does not pass. Time all
but passes. Time usually
passes. Time passing and
gazing. Time has no gaze.
Time as perseverance.
Time as hunger. Time in
a natural way. Time when
you were six the day a
mountain. Mountain time.
Time I don’t remember.
Time for a dog in an alley
caught in the beam of your
flashlight. Time not a
video. Time as paper
folded to look like a
mountain. Time smeared
under the eyes of the
miners as they rattle down
into the mine. Time if you
are bankrupt. Time if you
are Prometheus. Time if
you are all the little tubes
on the roots of a gorse
plant sucking greenish
black moistures up into
new scribbled continents.
Time it takes for the postal
clerk to apply her lipstick
at the back of the post
office before the
supervisor returns. Time
it takes for a cow to tip
over. Time in jail. Time
as overcoats in a closet.
Time for a herd of turkeys
skidding and surprised on
ice. All the time that has
soaked into the walls here.
Time between the little
clicks. Time compared to
the wild fantastic silence
of the stars. Time for the
man at the bus stop
standing on one leg to tie
his shoe. Time taking
Night by the hand and
trotting off down the road.
Time passes oh boy. Time
got the jump on me yes it
COUPONS horoscopes
in a kitchen drawer he turns
up an old B&W
photograph of her posed in
dashing swim costume on
some long ago back porch.
One leg forward like a
Greek kouros a cigarette
in the other hand she
glows as a drop of water
glows in sun. She looks
sexually astute in a way
that terrifies him he puts
this aside and all at once
the grainy photograph the
early marvel of her life
flung up at him a thing
hardly believable! knocks
him to his knees. He grips
his arms and weeps. Pain
catches the whole insides
of him and wrings it.
Oddly now remembering
his grandmother’s wringer
washer silvergreen and
upright on a platform of
wet boards in her back
kitchen beside the
washing tubs. How
carefully he’d been taught
to feed a piece of dripping
cloth between the two big
lips of the rollers while
she cranked the handle
and the cloth grabbed
fforward to emerge on the
other side as a weird
compressed pane of itself.
He hadn’t known his
grandmother long or well.
She smelled of Noxzema.
Didn’t like doctors.
Believed in herbs and the
Bible. When the apostles
walked down the street
she said their shadows
would heal people. His
mother once told him a
story about her dying.
They never liked each
other hadn’t visited for
years but someone
arranged a phone call. So
there they were mother
and daughter on the
telephone separate cities
separate nights both
suffering from asthma and
so moved they couldn’t
speak. I heard her
breathing I knew what it
was his mother said. He
looks up. He’d almost
forgot about the rain.
Unloading on the roof and
squandering down the
gutters. Rain continuous
since the funeral a
wrecking rattling
bewildering Lethe-
knuckling mob of rain. A
rain with no instructions.
Mothers in summer
Mothers in winter
Mothers in autumn
Mothers in spring
Mothers at altitude
Mothers in solitude
Mothers as platitude
Mothers in spring
Mothers banking their shots
Mothers grackling their throats
Mothers dumped from their boats
In spring
Mothers as ice
Or when they are nice
No one more nice
In spring
Mothers ashamed and Ablaze and clear
At the end
As they are
As they almost all are, and then
Mothers don’t come around
Again In spring


Excerpted from Red Doc> by Anne Carson Copyright © 2013 by Anne Carson. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living.

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Red Doc> 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. I read it through once, then immediately read it again, and now I keep going back to read particularly moving lines.