Even more relevant, his short story "The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", features the violence of war, a rickety bridge, retribution, hallucinations, and what may be an out of body experience Throughout the novel Johnson plays on these literary allusions and they serve him well. The plot is convoluted and the novel runs some pages. It is long read but if you enjoy a novel from epigraphs to ending, and don't mind googling the names of revolutionaries, and looking up words written in Spanish, reading this book will keep you entertained and interested.
Now I'm disappointed that there is no Felix Krull: Felix is a cheerful, handsome fraud who can take whatever he heard in conversation and parrot it at the next social event for a pedantic tone that is apparently made piquant by his charm and good looks. He is a narcissist and sociopath, but manages to stay mostly within the bounds of what is accepted by society.
The novel is supposed to be a parody of a Goethe memoir. Parts of it are tediously detailed, like the description of the contents of the Lisbon museum of natural history, but the lists of objects are also part of how Felix consumes his world.
He is constantly taking in and memorizing in order to have material to create his illusions. The novel is unfinished.
Did Felix ever get his comeuppance? Would he even recognize it if he did?
The opening indicates that he is in his forties as he writes this, so presumably no longer exquisitely beautiful and desired by all. And we know he went to jail for a while. Rachel Kushner's novel sketches out a world of ambitious cynics and contemptuous rich people. Much of the novel takes place in the New York downtown art scene in the early seventies and has some overlap with the milieu Patti Smith wrote about in her memoir Just Kids , which I liked better.
The protagonist here, Reno, also has a miserable sojourn with a wealthy Italian family of politically fascist leanings and their fortune comes from the oppression of rubber tappers in Brazil. There's also an excursion into the world of the Red Brigades. Reno is a skier and motorcyclist, but perhaps the most interesting character was one of her lovers, Ronnie, a conceptual artist more interested in success and rising in the art world than in art itself: Kushner does some wonderful scenes and has some excellent minor characters like Gloria and Stanley, who are whiny and ridiculous but nurturing of artists and occasionally wise.
The novel has good momentum, and Kushner can't write a bad sentence. As usual, lots of wonderful material like a short passage detailing an elderly aunt's final days packing and unpacking her possessions with demented logic. Archie finally makes his move on Clary who realizes just in time she loves him too—this has been signalled from early on in the earlier books, and I could have skipped the long summary of how he came to love her. It felt like some editor or maybe Howard herself decided the summary was need for readers who had had missed the three previous books.
Howard uses an interesting technique of going to a new point of view which she does often in these chronicles: This works especially nicely with lovers. So part of the fun is the sense of overhearing an intimate conversation in the next room and figuring out which couple it is, and in which stage of their relationship. She quickly sat up and called forth a dagger that she hid behind her back as she let her eyes adjust.
In the next second, she raised a hand and slapped him hard across the face. I must have worried you. You know what, Airen. Get up. Eullina decided to wait out in the mess hall and leave the two alone. Boys will be boys I suppose. Are you well, Airen? I did. It would be good… for a change.
Prepare yourself for a beating.. Please, Eullina. The crowd is getting bored! The two of them exchanged playful banter as they waited for Airen to get into position.
Sternberg Press - Krüger & Pardeller AESTHETIC BASIC CHRONICLE, VOL. 1
As soon as he did however, the atmosphere changed dramatically. With a loud crash of his mace and shield colliding and sending out sparks, Horly signaled that he was ready. Number two hundred and nine. The Fire Emblem.
A magical bow created by a sorcerer as a final gift to his daughter who could not use magic. Upon impact, the arrow transforms into an explosive rune of fire. Airen took a deep breath, nocked an arrow and aimed towards Horly. As soon as he released, the battle began. He had expected the shot to push him back like last time, but instead he hardly felt a clink as the arrow hit his great shield.
He quickly tossed away the fragmented shield, still billowing bits of flame, and added the remains to his mace, growing in size into that of a large two-handed warhammer. He started down the distance, where Airen already had another arrow readied. Horly took advantage of his confusion and charged towards Airen, barreling out of the cloud like an unstoppable war chariot.
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In the next moment, Airen crumbled under the heavy weight. To the onlookers, Airen was kneeling on the ground under the effects of the heavy armor, entirely unable to move. Inside, Airen listened for footsteps and waited for Horly to approach. Airen took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Blue and purple lines started to appear all over his body, and the magical tattoo that Fieluri had given him started to come to life. Horly watched in shock as the air distorted and twisted, and when it stabilized, Airen was standing, the armor nowhere to be seen.
His magic had somehow been dispelled. Number fifty-eight from the Codex of spears and halberds. The Hurricane Pike, given to a bold warrior from a dragon of wind for journeying through a place known as the Valley of Storms. Airen grasped the pike and spun it around with both hands, a technique taught to him by Keri to gauge the weight and balance of a spear or halberd type weapon. The Hurricane Pike was extremely light, and the balance leaned towards the tip.
You never cease to amaze. Horly smiled for a moment as he blocked the few blows, but quickly changed his mind as the tip of the pike bore through his armor despite his enchantments. Airen gave him no change to retaliate as he followed the movements he was taught by Keri, a continuous, never ending barrage of attacks- the Flash Stance. Again before Horly could retaliate, Airen smoothly transitioned to attacking again, giving Horly not even a chance to counterattack.
The advantage a spear has, as Keri had told him, was that a thrust is much faster than a swing and with a much longer reach. Pillars of metal made from the same material as his armor formed into thick pillars in a square shaped formation and trapping Airen within like that of a cage. After hearing that, Airen stopped trying to break out, instead he placed both hands on the shaft and held it diagonally, the blade pointed downwards touching the ground.
He mumbled a few words.
The spear point of the pike was starting to whisper and hum in intensity as Airen prepared another technique he learned from Keri, Flash of Divine Steel, named after the way the edge of the weapon burned with light. The humming grew louder and louder and even Horly was starting grow unnerved at the high pitched sound, quickly repairing his greatshield and preparing for whatever happens next. The light from the spear-tip started to grow brighter, and even the onlookers grew quiet as light shimmered through the bars. And finally, in one wide sweep, Airen swung the spear, light trailing from the tip, cleaving the bars straight in half as a phantasmal slash flew through the air and at Horly.
Seeing his Armor Prison , being slice through like a knife through butter, Horly dug his shield into the ground and ducked.
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