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Vance's final novel,
This review is from: Lurulu (Ports of Call) (Paperback)
Lurulu is the second half of Ports of Call, and itself divides quite neatly into two halves. The first half is quite focused on Myron Tany and Captain Malouf as they undertake a quest for justice on a strange planet, and the last half is a series of short visits to various planets on a tramp starship, buying and selling goods while keeping the local populace more or less happy. There is then an ending of sorts, which is really just a beginning when you think about it.
This was Vance's last novel, unless at age 95 he suddenly changes his mind and decides to write another one, which does not appear terribly likely.
The "Lurulu" of the title is difficult to describe accurately - the best notion I came up with was being at peace, satisfaction perhaps, and finding your personal Xanadu. It is what we are all in search of, I suppose, whether through travel, work, religion or immersing oneself in a cause. All of these options are dealt with in the book, to a greater or lesser degree, and while it is tempting to say that the answer Tany ultimately finds is "correct", I am not sure if it is as simple as that.
Don't read this if you have not read Vance before - even if you start with Ports of Call, its not the ideal place to begin reading Vance. His words are prose poetry, with a style somewhere between sparse and ornate - and somehow both at the same time. Better to start with Lyonesse or Tales of the Dying Earth. But if you have read Vance and enjoy it, this is a sweet little coda to a long and distinguished writing career.