The Jade Cabinet

The Jade Cabinet

by Rikki Ducornet
     
 

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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 Jade Cabinet, a finalist for the

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 Jade Cabinet, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, is both a riveting novel and a reflection on the nature of memory and desire, language and power.

"Ducornet . . . enlivens her illusory tale of imagination and allegory with delightful moments of humor and acerbic satire. . . . There is much to be savored in this brilliant novel." (Rocky Mountain News 5-2-93)

"Ducornet writes prose of hothouse delicacy with the exquisite intimacy of a Fabergè egg. . . . The Jade Cabinet is at once philosophical, speculative, ornate, and self-indulgent." (American Book Review Dec 93-Jan 94)

"Feminists who narrowly define their 'isms' may find fault with Ducornet's novels, which are often bawdy and flirtatious, evocative of Lewis Carroll and Rabelais; however, those readers taking offense will be cheating themselves out of some of the most magnificent and merciful writing available today." (Belles Lettres Summer 93)

"Magic is at the heart of this novel—not only the magic that becomes Etheria's means of escape, but more deeply, the magic of the everyday miracles of language and memory." (Columbus Dispatch 7-29-93)

"Rich in subplots and bizarre characters, this lovely, exotic fiction is highly recommended." (Library Journal 2-1-93)

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564780317
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
04/28/1994
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.45(d)

Meet the Author

Rikki Ducornet was born in New York and has lived in North Africa, South America, Canada and France. Her work as an illustrator first came to the attention of the Canadian book trade in 1974 with the publication of Susan Musgrave's "Gullband". In 1983, the Porcupine's Quill commissioned Rikki to illustrate an edition of Jorge Luis Borges' "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius".

Rikki is the author of three short-story collections, seven books of poetry, and seven novels, including "The Fan-Maker's Inquisition" and "The Jade Cabinet". She is also a painter whose work has been exhibited widely. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.

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