One of the most uniquely original novels I've read in some time. Espionage around World War II, decadent circuses, exile and expatriation, conspiracies, and the barbarities of war. Whittemore's prose style is gorgeous in its simplicity and rhythms, and I could kick myself for not reading his writing earlier. Accomplished, daring, brutal, so good that it's difficult to believe that this was his first novel. Hard to find, but highly recommended.Speaking of kicking oneself, I wish I had gone ahead and bought the Old Earth Books paperbacks of all Whittemore's novels when they came out in 2002, rather than just demurely buying Quin's as a sampler, and figuring I'd buy the others Oneday. Now they mostly seem to be Temporarily Out of Stock, alas. To partially atone, I highly recommend a brand-new Old Earth Books paperback: Things Will Never Be the Same, a retrospective Howard Waldrop collection that includes "Mr. Goober's Show," "Night of the Cooters," "The Sawing Boys," "The Ugly Chickens," "US" and other wonders.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Quin's Shanghai Circus and Things Will Never Be the Same
I second Jason Erik Lundberg's recommendation of Quin's Shanghai Circus, the astounding 1974 first novel by the late Edward Whittemore. Jason writes:
Posted by Andy Duncan at 4:32 PM