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Tropic of Cancer

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  47,866 Ratings  ·  2,426 Reviews
Banned for almost thirty years in the UK and US after its original 1934 publication, this is a classic of erotic literature shattering every taboo on its frank, unapologetic portrait of desire. A fictional account of Miller's adventures amongst the prostitutes, pimps, and penniless painters and writers of underground Paris, Tropic of Cancer is an extravagant and rhapsodic ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 1934)
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Popular Answered Questions

Noelia112 I have heard the book is really mysoginist , the main character treats women as they were a piece of meat without feelings and finds himself having…moreI have heard the book is really mysoginist , the main character treats women as they were a piece of meat without feelings and finds himself having sexual relationships with "whores" (for him every woman is a whore because obviously they are inferior humans and they doesn´t deserve to be respected). So, it´s just another patriarchal book to make men feel they are better ando women exist only to satisfy their desires.
I could only read this book with critical eye and not enjoy the plot.
However, if you want to read it and something inside you keeps tellin you something is wrong I recommend you to read Sexual Politics from Kate Millet, who analyze the book.
Good luck!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jafar
Sep 23, 2008 Jafar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, I was glancing through some of the reviews here and noticed that someone has totally disparaged this book because its “hero” is immoral. It always bewilders me when people judge a book according to the moral judgment that they pass on its characters. Like when I was looking at the reviews of John Updike’s Run, Rabbit and saw a woman saying that she hated the book because Angstrom left his wife twice in the book. I was like, don’t take it personally, lady; he’s not your husband. A lot of peop ...more
Jonathan
Aug 06, 2007 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the greatest book ever written. This opening passage proves it:


"I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought I was an artist. I no longer think about it. I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God.
This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged in
...more
Kate
Jun 17, 2008 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got through the first 150 pages before I decided that life is too short to waste time reading books you hate. Maybe I'm not smart enough or deep enough to appreciate a book like Tropic of Cancer, but for me each page was a tedious struggle. The author of the book's introduction boldy asserts that Henry Miller is "the greatest living author" (obviously, the edition I read was published prior to Miller's death in 1980), but I found Miller's frenetic, meandering style tiresome.

Don't get me wrong
...more
Michael
Sep 05, 2007 Michael rated it did not like it
Tropic of Cancer is held in high regard by Authors that I respect. In particular, George Orwell (whose essay, “Inside the Whale”) has high praise for Miller's bravery, directness and honesty.
Miller's foul language has lost the power to impress; modern readers will not feel the level of shock and awe experienced by previous generations. The book has so much critical adulation that I have spent a few weeks ruminating before expressing my own view.

I don't like it....

Oh, don't mistake me, I “get” it
...more
Paul Bryant
Feb 13, 2017 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
My fiction addiction
Had lost all its friction
I needed raw meat but this new stuff was veggie
Predictable, safe, and not bold, tough and edgy
I thought Tropic of Cancer
Would be the answer
For years it was banned
Throughout every land
But five c words per page
Suppressed masculine rage
And tours of French pudenda
Was his only agenda
So reading Henry Miller
Just made me feel iller
And iller
And iller
And iller
Jason Pettus
Jul 08, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally. Sorry; the last paragraph today gets cut off a few sentences early!)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label
Book #20: Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller (1934)

The story in a nutshell:
Like many of the ot
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I am going to create a new goodreads bookshelf titled "sausage party." It will exist solely for Henry Miller.
John Doe
Apr 27, 2007 John Doe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hippies pretending to be yuppies
Shelves: reviewed


George Orwell wrote an essay about this book called, “Inside the Whale.” The title alludes to the Jonah story in the bible. In that story Jonah rejected his responsibility, ran, and was swallowed by a whale. He finally accepted his responsibility and returned to the world. In contrast, Orwell’s Miller doesn’t want to leave the whale. God’s punishment ironically is Miller’s safe and comfortable oasis. Miller can attempt to triumph over god in this way because he has chosen an ironic stance toward
...more
E.
Apr 30, 2007 E. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sophmores in college who recently finished "on the road" and want to really get wild
When I read this for the first time I thought the world was opening up and eating people.

I wanted to get drunk and go on a hooker spree, to move to Paris and generally debauch for the rest of my 20's....

Then I realized I kind of wanted to do all this anyways but with Miller's aid I could and even better I could disguise the whole thing as "literary."

I struggled through Capricorn, through The Books in My Life, through a number of Miller's personal letters and musings. I even made a pilgrimage t
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
GoodReads Memorial Plot Summary (Pages 1 - 30) (Warning: Contains Spoilers) (Sponsor: Grove Press)

We are living (view spoiler)/(view spoiler)/(view spoiler).

We walk down streets where (view spoiler)(view spoiler)(view spoiler)(view spoiler) lived.

The cancer of (view spoiler)
...more
Alex
"Art consists in going the full length. If you start with the drums you have to end with dynamite."

But if you begin with masturbation, you don't necessarily end with sex.

There are books you have to read at a certain age. There are others that are ageless, and those books are better. This should be read when you're young and stupid. Are you young and stupid now? Fantastic; read this and hate me. Are you older? Then read something else.

Maybe something for old people, like Henry James.

I kinda hat
...more
Parthiban Sekar
“I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing.”

This is definitely not one of those books which you take on your holidays to a sunny-side parks, get cozy, and read, as it contains extreme contents, acts, thoughts, and ideas which would leave you dumbfounded and deranged. There was no any usual forms of addressing "Women": it lacks "Ladies" and misses "Miss" (You get the idea, don't you?); There are also countless women who take a colloquial name by their anatomy. No Wond
...more
Fatima
عجیب ترین کتابی بود که تا به امروز خوانده ام از این نظر که نمیشد توقع داستانی با آغاز و پایان درست و حسابی را داشت و توصیف گوشه ای از زندگی در هم و برهم و آشفته ی میلر در پاریس آشفته و شلخته ی آن روزگار بوده و خواندن این کتاب را به هرکسی پیشنهاد نمیکنم ! اما شاید قبلا از این دست سبک نوشتاری خوانده اید (تقریبا زندگی نامه/ توصیفی در یک برهه خاص از زمان است) شاید خواندنش در زمانی که واقعا حوصله ی دقت در متن و تحمل شلوغی و پرش های نویسنده به هرکجایی و لحن بی ادبانه اش در مورد مسائل جنسی و ورود و خرو ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 08, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, sex, picaresque
One of this book's themes is sex. So, if you are squeamish about sex on books, or about sex itself, then don't read this review. More importantly, DON'T read this book. My review is definitely lame compared to its sexual content.

But not reading the book is like being in the USA without tasting bagel in one of their international airports. Whenever I come to the US, I always grab a bagel and a cup of coffee while waiting for my flight. I think that bread (rarely sold here in the Philippines) defi
...more
Jenn(ifer)
Jan 15, 2008 Jenn(ifer) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
The only thing that saved this book from a 1 star rating is the occasional stellar paragraph such as this:

"For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured - disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui - in the belief that overnight something will occur, a mira
...more
Jana
Oct 14, 2009 Jana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The only reason this book is a classic is because men were editors and this book gave them boners. And then male readers had boners and women were shocked with Miller's vocabulary. So, it wasn’t that difficult to become a classic. Especially in those days, when a word cunt was such a taboo. But, again who am I joking, I have a few Irish/English male friends who blush when somebody says cunt around them. And they love Miller, so I think that's the individual matter of upbringing and bon ton, beca ...more
Jr Bacdayan
"Some day I'll write a book about myself, about my thoughts. I don't mean just a piece of introspective analysis... I mean that I'll lay myself down on the operating table and I'll expose my whole guts... every goddamned thing. Has anybody ever done that before? - What the hell are you smiling at? Does it sound naïf?"
Trenton Judson
Mar 11, 2009 Trenton Judson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be one of the best books in the American cannon, and also, unfortunately, one of the most underrated. I read a lot of the reviews on the book before writing this and I found not very many that were thought out. I recall one reviewer giving up on the book because the "frenetic style was tiresome." Usually when someone has feelings like that, it is because they don't understand the literature and so their mind wanders. Another review noted that Miller's supposed "shock tactics" were outda ...more
وائل المنعم
Tropic of Cancer first published in 1934 in France, but this edition was banned in the United States until 1961.

Tropic of Cancer is one of the most important and beautiful pieces of prose in the history of English literature, It isn't an ordinary novel, it's Miller's life in pairs, how he sees his friends, how he thinks about human being's big questions. What Miller is doing only is searching for food and if he finds it then he can give a "lay" and write some pages in his novel.

In this beautiful
...more
William1
Mar 24, 2011 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
In short, I think Tropic of Cancer is a masterwork. Do read it! However let me yield the floor to George Orwell who's done far more thinking about the novel than I -- from his essay "Inside the Whale."

http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartb...
Amanda
Dec 07, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”

One of many quotes in this book that touched my soul.

I have long been attracted to books about American authors that moved to Paris. Their lives seemed so interesting and different from anything in the US. So that was my original draw to this book. Then
...more
Мартин Касабов
Несравним. Махам една звезда единствено заради хедонизма, който бавно прогнива душата и те прави скапаняк. :D

edit: връщам звездата, щото е недостижим.
Μιχάλης
Mar 19, 2017 Μιχάλης rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αριστούργημα, καταπληκτικό βιβλίο, μερακλήδικη μετάφραση, δε μου άρεσε γιατί θέλω πλοκή .

Αλλά πρέπει να είμαι αντικειμενικός για αυτό 4 άστρα.
Sketchbook
Henry Miller performs a cunning stunt. There is no odious P.C. here, which one must deplore. This faux-memoir isnt "sexy," but it is a vomit of hilarity. I long for the Baz Luhrmann musical version. Meantime, plunge in, whacckkk it, and then slurp a gonarrhea cocktail. Btw, don't eat the ham sandwich in the bidet.
Philippe Malzieu
The Villa Seurat is a kind of oasis in a very ugly district with the edge of Montparnasse. It is the painter Jean Lurçat who decided there to install workshops for artists. He asked his brother to build them. At the 7bis, Chana Orloff, the sculptress preferred the great Auguste Peret to him. Her grandchildren authorize sometimes the visit of this house-workshop.. It is enough moving. There we found the artistic effervescence of Paris at the Thirties . For exemple, Orloff knew Modigliani which dr ...more
Annette
Aug 11, 2007 Annette rated it really liked it
One of my favorite passages:

"At night when I look at Boris' goatee lying on the pillow I get hysterical. O Tania, where now is that warm cunt of yours, those fat, heavy garters, those soft, bulging thighs? There is a bone in my prick six inches long. I will ream out every wrinkle in your cunt, Tania, big with seed. I will send you home to your Sylvester with an ache in your belly and your womb turned inside out. Your Sylvester! Yes, he knows how to build a fire, but I know how to inflame a cunt.
...more
Fabian
Sep 21, 2009 Fabian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am usually a fan of zeitgeist crystallization in literature. Here is a true account/fiction which places a smudgy magnifying glass to the underbelly of a famed city. Paris has NEVER been described so ugly!

The protagonist is Mr. Miller, and he lives in absolute poverty, which enhances his artist's eye. He transcends the tangibility and heaviness of matter...

Anyway, I know this was controversial and even banned for decades because of the sexual depictions and language. This is from the 30's! Mil
...more
Michael
Tropic of Cancer is probably best known for being about sex, a book that was banned for over thirty years. An autobiographical novel of a struggling writer living in Paris in a community of bohemians. A fictionalised account of Miller’s life living underground, with prostitutes, painters and other writers.

This is an odd novel, not necessarily good but a literary landmark. Without Henry Miller we may never have books like Lolita, Naked Lunch, A Sport and a Pastime and even Tampa. On the plus side
...more
Xandra
A brilliant introduction, a few more scattered bits of intelligence, dirty words that make it all original and controversial, lots of boring ramblings, tedious writing... frustrating book. Men who think their penises are the best thing that ever happened to this world might find some empathy for this dude and have a deeper appreciation for his crap of a life. They may then proceed to circle jerk (who shoots the farthest wins) while giving extensive praise to the man-genius that was Henry Miller. ...more
August
Aug 01, 2007 August rated it it was amazing
Seems the contemporary catch phrase to label Miller by is "Misogynist." Whatever... he wrote from his perspective and never swayed from his own vantage point to impress anyone. He is a true artist. How else would he have attracted the love interest of such an intelligent, beautiful woman as Anaiis Nin? Tropic of Cancer, to me, borders on spiritual enlightenment by way of pure honesty. I also enjoyed reading Nin's diary showing her side of their mutual lust affair. She was as much of a lost soul ...more
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  • Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932)
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  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
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Henry Miller sought to reestablish the freedom to live without the conventional restraints of civilization. His books are potpourris of sexual description, quasi-philosophical speculation, reflection on literature and society, surrealistic imaginings, and autobiographical incident.

After living in Paris in the 1930s, he returned to the United States and settled in Big Sur, Calif. Miller's first tw
...more
More about Henry Miller...

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“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.” 1221 likes
“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.” 566 likes
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