The Jade Cabinet

Overview

Made speechless by her eccentric father, the beautiful Etheria is traded for a piece of precious jade. Memory, her sister, tells her story, that of a childhood enlivened by Lewis Carroll and an orangutan named Dr. Johnson and envenomed by the pernicious courtship of Radulph Tubbs, Queen Victoria's own Dragon of Industry. The novel travels from Oxford to Egypt where one million ibis mummies wait to be transformed into fertilizer, where Baconfield the architect will cause a pyramid to collapse, and where a scorned ...
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1992-11-19 Hardcover New Stated First Edition of BRAND NEW hardcover with DJ. All clean crisp text pages with nice secure binding. Occasional black and white illustrations ... throughout. Free gift-wrapping. Daily shipping. ALL ORDERS ARE GUARANTEED. Read more Show Less

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Normal, IL 1993 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. SHIP DAILY from NJ; ALMOST GIFT-ABLE as GLOSSY, LIGHTLY READ or UNREAD FIRST, TIGHT; NEAR NEW (minor bump ... bottom spine) w/DJ NEW AS SHOWN THIS PHOTO Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 158 p. Audience: General/trade. 6692 This novel, representing Air, is a numinous finale to Ducornet's Tetralogy of Elements, which also includes The Stain (Earth), Entering Fire (Fire) and The Fountains of Neptune (Water). Born into an eccentric household in Victorian Oxford, Etheria is beautiful, imaginative and, because of her father's attempts to discover the Edenic Original Speech by keeping his firstborn innocent of language, mute. Her sister, Memory, narrates the story as Etheria. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Made speechless by her eccentric father, the beautiful Etheria is traded for a piece of precious jade. Memory, her sister, tells her story, that of a childhood enlivened by Lewis Carroll and an orangutan named Dr. Johnson and envenomed by the pernicious courtship of Radulph Tubbs, Queen Victoria's own Dragon of Industry. The novel travels from Oxford to Egypt where one million ibis mummies wait to be transformed into fertilizer, where Baconfield the architect will cause a pyramid to collapse, and where a scorned and bloated hunger artist who speaks in tongues will plot a bloody revenge. The fourth element in a tetralogy of novels - Earth (The Stain), Fire (Entering Fire), Water (The Fountains of Neptune) and Air - The Jade Cabinet is both a riveting novel and a reflection on the nature of memory and desire, language and power. Following the novel is an afterword, "Waking to Eden," in which Ducornet reflects on the sources for her writing and on the quartet of novels completed by The Jade Cabinet.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Air is the subject of this last volume of Ducornet's Tetralogy of the Elements, set in Victorian England. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This is the fourth novel in Ducornet's brilliant and provocative tetralogy based on the elements--in this instance, air. The story is told by Memory, whose father, an eccentric natural historian, believes that her sister, Etheria, will bring forth the Primal Speech of Adam if she never hears a spoken word. Her resultant muteness and the etherial quality of her pale beauty hover over this magical, surreal tale. All the photographs taken of the two girls by their delightful neighbor, Lewis Carroll, are destroyed by the jealous Tubbs, a gross, abusive industrialist to whom Etheria is given in marriage. He violates her with a jade phallus, and, when he begins to raze her beloved gardens (they lack symmetry and are seen as unsafe), she flees. Etheria reappears years later as a magician named Zephyra--or so the aging, remorseful Tubbs wants to believe. Rich in subplots (e.g., Tubbs's plan to pulverize thousands of ancient ibis mummies into fertilizer and potions) and bizarre characters (a lusty harpy of a hunger artist who stalks Tubbs with a silver pistol), this lovely, exotic fiction is highly recommended.-- Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc . , Ohio
Lindsay Throm
A profound belief in the power of language leads a man to use his firstborn as material for experimentation in his quest for the keys to universal language. Though his daughter is able to understand language and its relationship to the world, the experiments leave her mute. This voiceless woman enchants those around her, including her cruel industrialist husband, who endeavors to have her and from whom she escapes only through magic, which she studies before the day she vanishes "forever in thin air like a puff of smoke." Both before and after this vanishing, she enchants her sister, Memory, who tells the mute woman's story. Memory pulls together the other characters' words by including their memoirs, journals, and diaries--a narrative technique that, along with the power of Memory's narration, makes this novel about language and silence most audible.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564780218
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rikki Ducornet (born Erica DeGre, April 19, 1943 in Canton, New York) is an American postmodernist, writer, poet, and artist.

Dalkey Archive Press

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