Mr. A-Z

Steve Erickson: Tours of the Black Clock

Tours of the Black ClockA fusion of present and past, reality and fantasy, time and space. First half is riveting. Steve Erickson made me feel like this is how literature should be done. Words should be metaphorical, events ought to be allegorical. Doesn’t it all sound so much better when it does not evoke familiar things? It is a story of a young man who leaves the island where he grew up to become a boatman after he sees an old man die at his mother’s feet. This is where the book takes a turn and follows the life of this man, who happens to be a writer, named Banning Jainlight. From the United States, the author takes us to Second-world-war-torn Vienna, where we meet Mr. Z., an eccentric client who gets wound up in Jainlight’s book, or rather female character, until she practically makes him change the course of war. History and fiction are interwoven, just like love and vengeance. I found it funny, dark funny not ha ha funny, and mainly confusing, Memento-like confusing. Solid reading, although the second part of the book, and mostly the end becomes too dispersed.

 

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