Friday, January 11, 2008

Dirda on Crowley's Aegypt Sequence

Michael Dirda has to be one of the most well-read human on this planet. He will write a thoughtful, enlightened review of Terry Pratchett today, and tomorrow you are just as likely to find a sensitive analysis of the latest A.S. Byatt novel. I love the breadth of his essays, his expansive attitudes towards all literature. Unlike some stuffy, self-important reviewers, Dirda has no prejudice against fantasy. He understands fantasy is just another medium where the writer uses to tell their story.

In the American Scholar, Dirda discusses John Crowley's four-part Aegypt sequence -- a 1,700-page fantasy epic that Crowley had first conceived more than 30 years ago.

The overarching theme of both Little, Big and Aegypt is yearning, the desire to fill the emptiness within that nearly all of us experience, more or less, as we make our way through the life of this world. Why, in fact, do men and women feel so unhappy, dissatisfied, incomplete? Crowley’s general answer, if only in his fiction, is that we have lost something that we once possessed. Our souls hunger after meaning.

Do I dare add this onto my TBR pile?


jenclair said...

I'm in the midst of Little, Big but have been sidetracked and must get back to it. It has received great acclaim from all kinds of people I admire. Shame on me for leaving it alone with its bookmark.

Ana S. said...

I am not familiar with Michael Dirda, but he really like someone whose essays I should be reading.

I'm going to read Little Big this year, and if I like it - like I suspect I will - I'm going to have to add that 1700 pages monster to my list. Damn you :P

darkorpheus said...

Jenclair Not to fret. You're get to it eventually. I get the idea it's a LOOOOONG term read. So, it's okay to do other things in between.

Nymeth Oh yes, Michael Dirda's are very readable. I have his "Bound to Please" collection of his essays for the Washington Post and it was so impressive I started compiling a reading list from his recommendations.

Good luck with "Little, Big." ;)

I saw a copy in the bookstore and I was wondering if I should. Ha!

Carl V. Anderson said...

Why not, can a to be read pile be too big? ;)

I am wanting to read Little Big soon as well.

Eva said...

I agree that Dirda's essays are a lot of fun! I was lucky enough to get a free hardcover copy of his latest book to review. :D

abulafia said...

I like to read Dirda, but usually don't share his taste in books. This did sound like something I'd like, though, so I went out and picked up the reissued Aegypt.