Darconville's Cat is a novel about love and hate. Among other matters, it deals with the delicate tensions between Life and Art, the Ideal and the Real, God and Satan, and, above all, with the crises and conflicts between Man and Woman, the tragic implications of which reach all the way back to the Primal Fall.
|Publisher:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.48(w) x 8.22(h) x 1.88(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I strongly suspect that Professor Theroux somewhere along the way made a Faustian trade with Mephistopheles and was willing to part with the love of his life in exchange for writing the perfect great American novel right at the get-go. Of the latter I can certainly vouche. The former could not have been accomplished without some deep seated experience. After all, this is a novel about love and hate. But it also concerns poles of every variety. As Nietzsche pointed out in 'The Birth of Tragedy,' the interplay of Appollo and Dionysius give birth to tragedy and fortunately for us in this case also to comedy. 'The Trojan Horse has foaled.' For in this Proustian synthesis of Theroux, genius clearly resides. Saul Bellow once wrote that fewer than 20,000 people had the intellectual wherewithal to really understand his novels. I suspect that in the case of Theroux the number is roughly half. Hence, booksellers consider this work an 'overlooked masterpiece.' The vocabulary is fairly daunting --the longest word in the world can be found within this magnum opus. But the pure wit and the rare sagacity and the beauty of the language is absolute paradise: this is one of only a half-dozen novels that I envy to the point that I wish I had written it. This is a novelist's novel. 'You will either build a bridge or build a wall.' In some cases the rich syntax rivals Proust in length and in other cases it's simply pithy wit. Theroux captures the dialect of the South deftly in his Blue Ridge Faux Eden and then revels in his own element East of Eden in the Hahvid Yahd. There are many places where I just laughed my head off. His primary cast -- Darconville, Isabel and Crucifer -- are memorable and the vitriolic diatribes of the wicked Crucifer must have been good fun to write. Crucifer out-Mephistos Mephistopheles as a worthy arch-demon as purely Satanic as any demon of Milton, Faust or Dante. This Crucifer is Biblical and leads Darconville on a tragi-comic chase through the labyrinth of his soul with an ending that is both original and intriguing in its wisdom. Thus Theroux prophesized his own manuscript going into a tin box to be confiscated by a Philistine doctor to offset his fees. This book takes a while to read properly -- I would advise you not to rush it. The writing is exquisite -- really it's as good as it gets in our day and age -- so just be sure to savour it. I also recommend that you buy this book as an investment: someday soon this genius will be 'discovered' as an overnight success a mere 30 years in the making and his first editions will be worth great fortunes. 'Darconville's Cat' is a pure joy to read -- it is, honestly, simply perfect.