This Pulitzer Prize winning novel represents the apotheosis of Millhauser’s obsession with obsessives. In the character of Martin Dressler, Millhauser has found a character that fulfills both his personal needs as a writer and the novel’s needs for justification. Dressler serves as a synecdoche for both the American Way and the American Dream, or, perhaps, more properly, how these two overlap and even, at times -- such as during the 1990s, when this novel appeared, merge into an organic whole in which each are indistinguishable from one another. Millhauser’s inimitable style carries the reader through the life-cycle of Dressler’s dream of life that seems so real that at times its hard to believe that it’s only a dream; but then, the best of dreams are always like that, aren’t they? Import softcover
The lead story in this collection of three novellas by America's reigning master of the form, "The Little Kingdom of J. Franklin Payne" is an amazing tour de force for which the life and work of Winsor McCay serves as a springboard into a hallucinatory trip inside the mind of a powerful and obsessive creativity. We believe that this work stands to be especially appreciated by comics aficionados, and as we just secured a large quantity of the UK edition at a special price (and as the US edition is now, while not, technically, out of print, available only in a print-on-demand edition) we felt it was appropriate to bring it to our customers' attention at this time. The two additional novellas that fill out this volume are every bit as original, unique and intense: "The Princecss, the Dwarf and the Dungeon" is a magnificent deconstruction of the fairy tale that reveals its origins and functions -- social as well as psychological; and "Catalogue of the Exhibition: The Art of Edmund Moorash (1810 - 1846)" is one of the most singular works in the annals of fiction -- a turbulently romantic tale presented in the form of, as the title has it, the catalogue for an exhibition of paintings. Recommended!
This collection of works from the early 1980s by Millhauser starts off with August Eschenburg, a prototypical tale which serves as the template for several later Millhauser works, most notably Martin Dressler (see below). The middle section is composed of three stylistically linked forays into the classic short story mode, each of which stages an elaborate wedding of location with season to produce an exquisite evocation of an exact yet unnameable emotion, and each of which manages to pull it off. The stories that will really having you reaching for the champagne to celebrate their success, however, are the three that close out the volume, and most especially the titular tale, In the Penny Arcade. This story reacheds the summit where so many others have fallen short in capturing that oh-so-elusive scene in which childhood ends. It distills this instant in an essence that is as momentous as it is bittersweet. This story is bracketed by a pair of equally successful distillations, first of childhood, and the other of tradition. This book is a treasure. import softcover