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Love & sleep
John Crowley
Adult Fiction CROWLEY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With this impressive if flawed sequel to the magisterial AEgypt (1987), Crowley offers another taste of his deeply intellectual brand of contemporary fantasy. As a boy, historian and writer Pierce Moffett developed a fascination with the occult, devouring tomes of arcane lore. Now Pierce has become increasingly convinced that, several times in history, the world has undergone a great transformation whereby the nature of things--the systems that govern its operation--have changed; where once alchemy and magic worked, now they don't. Digging through the papers of a favorite childhood novelist, Pierce discovers an unpublished manuscript that, set in the 16th century and tracking two real-life men of knowledge, seems to bolster his supposition that things were indeed once different. Several people are affected by his discovery--the woman he comes to care for; an epileptic child; a dying man seeking the philosopher's stone. It's not in the plot that the relative strengths of Crowley's book lie. Rather, it's in the breathtaking language, the rolling seductive sentences and the precision with which he evokes the sense of everyday life spiced with hints of mystical secrets. The problem, though, is that there's no proper payoff to all the portent. Crowley tries mightily, but he just can't pull off the miracle of creating his own philosopher's stone here. Still, if what he ends up with isn't quite gold, it glitters enough to keep readers involved. Major ad/promo. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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