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Daemonomania based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I had been awaiting this new volume in Crowley's 'Aegypt' series with great anticipation for the last six years, since the publication of 'Love & Sleep.' It was well worth the wait. 'Daemonomania' answers some of the mysteries of the first two novels in the series, sets up a number of others, and leaves plenty of tantalizing threads hanging for the conclusion. While maintaining all of the essential elements- metaphysical, philosophical, structural- from the previous two novels, Crowley also touches, surprisingly and gratifingly, on some more concrete issues, such as fundamentalist movements of the late 20th century. This gives the effect that we are moving through the story's 'passage time' toward a more distinctly present-day world. Crowley also does a magnificent, even sometimes heartbreaking, job of implying the passage and its effects on his protagonists. Throughout, the characters are still well-drawn and enjoyable. Several who had been a bit shadowy in the earlier novels receive more attention, and there are some wonderful scenes between the most fully-fleshed denizens of this fantastic world, in particular, Pierce Moffett and Rosie Rasmussen. I'll admit to being a bit biased about John Crowley's work- I've never read anything of his that I didn't find absolutely wonderful- and I know that there are plenty of readers who find his writing too challenging, too strange, or simply not to their tastes. 'Daemonomania' is probably not going to win over anyone who doesn't enjoy a mix of fantasy, history, philosophy- even some kinky sex!- all rendered in prose that's allusive, poetic, and sometimes so densely packed with meaning that many passages bear multiple readings. However, for Crowley fans, this is all sheer heaven!
This third novel in the 'Aegypt' series is a triumph of art and craftsmanship over expectation. The expectation being the fear that you can never go back to a book and find it as wonderful as at first reading, when it was fresh and new -- or that succeeding books in a series can never continue as strong as the initial volume, the unexpected still all ahead. Crowley is now two-thirds of the way through this four-volume project, after a bit of disappointment in 'Love & Sleep.' That second in the series began with a remarkable set piece and then seemed to lose its focus. It is gratifying to find that 'Daemonomania' not only moves the major story frame forward, with reborn excitement and energy, but is very satisfying as a novel within itself -- a bitter-sweet love story resolved, a strange battle joined with modern-day practioners of magics that are just as dark as those of the earlier age that Crowley is so adept at creating. And the richness of idea, the scholarship, the absolutely stunning prose style that Crowley commands are joined in this novel with human interest at a level that he has not quite achieved so uniformly in the past -- from the sad late days of John Dee, to the burning of Bruno, to concern for a seizure-tormented contemporary little girl and her mother the other Rose, and the frequent tears, the wrong roads taken, the Donkey-headedness of Crowley's Quixotic hero. Let it please please Crowley to bring us the concluding volume, reaching now for the Gnostic gold and Dee's prophetic globe in Trismegistrian mountains, without another six years wait!