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Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1)
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The 100 Best Novels > Week 59 - Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

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message 1: by Jenny (last edited Nov 03, 2014 12:20AM) (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments This week's pick is Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller which was first published in 1934.

From the article:

"In American literature, the renegade strand had found its richest expression in the genius Mark Twain, who went out of his way to oppose the “genteel tradition” of Emerson and Longfellow. By the 20th century, however, the renegade frontier was to be found not in the wild west, but in Paris. Miller, the down-and-out literary enragé, revelled in a new frontier of seedy desperation, where there were “prostitutes like wilted flowers and pissoirs filled with piss-soaked bread”. He and his muse Anaïs Nin flourished here – resolute, isolated and stoical in pursuit of their new aesthetic. Nin memorably recalled that, while her lover was mellow in his speech, there was always a small, round, hard photographic lens in his blue eyes.

The shabby, 38-year-old American with unblinking camera vision who arrived on the Left Bank of Paris in 1930 was the quintessence of abject failure. All he had going for him was creative rage, mixed with the artistic vision of the truly avant garde. I start tomorrow on the Paris book, wrote Henry Miller. First person, uncensored, formless – fuck everything!"
His obsessive reporting of his sexual exploits, and his low-life rootlessness, is the novel’s subject (there is no plot), a merciless assault on convention. Next to Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night (1934) and even Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Miller’s visceral candour was off the charts of contemporary taste, in tone as much as language."

Read the article here

message 2: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I've heard of Henry Miller, but I haven't read anything by him, at least not yet.

message 3: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13415 comments Mod

message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Ditto here too. I must admit that it doesn't sound appealing to me.

message 5: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I've always been put off reading him because he's billed as the quintessential man's man. Crass and manly. Generally I'm guessing not a good match for my temperament, though I could be wrong in my prejudgement!

message 6: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13415 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "Ditto here too. I must admit that it doesn't sound appealing to me."

I didn't want to say, but yes, the same for me! ;)

message 7: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments LauraT wrote: "Leslie wrote: "Ditto here too. I must admit that it doesn't sound appealing to me."

I didn't want to say, but yes, the same for me! ;)"

Nor me!

message 8: by Gill (last edited Nov 04, 2014 08:44AM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I have read him (both this and Tropic of Capricorn). I don't remember much about them, except there was lots of sex!

I think far more interesting than Miller, is Anaïs Nin, whom he had a fairly tempestuous relationship with. I'd recommend A Spy in the House of Love if you've not read her. Mind you, I also read her diaries and thought they were very interesting,

message 9: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments That's pretty much what I thought when posting Gill. I don't much care for Henry Miller judging by what I've read (The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder ) but I am really curious about Anais Nin's writing. I've added 'A Spy...' to my list!

Katie (youneverarrived) | 168 comments I'm an avid fan of Henry Miller and this book in particular. I read it when I was just 20 had quit my job and went travelling so it brings back good memories.

His writing is really poetic, and I love his honesty. I can see why people would be put off by things they've heard about his writing though.

message 11: by Lori (new)

Lori | 4 comments Katie, I remember reading this when I was in my early twenties, too. Yes, it's crass and shocking and so darn macho, but like you, I loved his honesty.

And Gill, thanks for the tip on Anais Nin's (A Spy in the House of Love.) I read her diaries right after my Henry Miller kick, and loved them.

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