Top positive review
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Hard to find kooky classic
on 14 July 2005
First up - this book (and its sequels) are getting increasingly difficult to get a hold off. None are currently in print and for some reason their second hand prices are quite steep. (£75 for Love and Sleep anyone?) Is there ever going to be a reprint in the UK?
Having said that, if you do manage to track down a copy of this series you are in luck - an east coast academic, who failed to achieve his youthful promise, flees a hedonistic New York for the upstate village of Blackberry Jambs. His goal is to foreswear relationships and write the definitive guide to the hermetic history of the world.
A typical synopsis for the modern American novel but for Crowley this is the platform for an exploration of the nature of history and reality. His aims are much larger than most modern authors and reading this book you get a sense of something bigger and grander beyond one's everyday life. (It reminded me in some ways of A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys - which I'm sure is intentional on Crowley's part. It is probably open to the same criticism directed at Powys of wilful kookiness.)
I re-read Aegypt lately after a gap of ten years and to be honest I had forgotten that about half way through there was a huge chunk of exposition on the nature of the hermetic tradition. The material is in itself very interesting but stuck as it is, almost undigested in the middle of the novel, it's a definite weakness.
Aegypt's well worth pursuing to the end. I just hope you can find the rest of the sequence!