3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very Bohemian, Very Honest and Very Different From Anything Else!,
This review is from: Tropic of Cancer (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) (Paperback)This book is like nothing I have ever read. It isn't an easy read that's for sure and it's a very uneven piece of literature yet there is something rugged about it that makes it more than admirable. Henry's rant which is not merely a novel or a book, nor a poem but a 'prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty . . .what you will.' Henry writes and so it is; some of this work is difficult summarise because it is so spontaneous and random that it is difficult to put a finger on it. Some of it is written in the present tense and some of it in the past. Some of it is memoir some of it is fantasy but it all gels together to produce a dream-like projection of what it's like to live on the edge with no job in the middle of Paris in the 1930's.
George Orwell had written a great essay about this book called 'In The Whales Mouth' which also helps to sum up what this novel it really about and what it compromises. Henry describes the atmosphere of Paris like no other author and he uses his very own neurotic stream of consciousness style to get his point accross. What I found this book to be about was the liberation of yourself from conventions; from the restraint of society and finding your own independant and artistic voice. Henry had certainly done this.
There are many funny stories and memorable moments in this book and some of the characters in which Henry describes are hillarious like some of the people Henry had took advantage of - the devil he was at times. The whole is like a confession, a surrender of the ego which is why I found it quite hard at times to get through. This is well worth reading if you are interested bohemianism and moving beyond the conventional barriers of everyday life which bind us to society. I also recommend 'The Tropic Of Capricorn' which for me was an easier read.