the reading is done, but the wonderment continues. A grab-bag of afterthoughts, wishes, dreams, re-visits, regrets. On various levels: the reader's level, the writer's level, the character's level. Other levels too: reality of books, reality of physics, reality of reality-- and then the word "fantasy" bonding to all three again, and then.... well endless things, of course.
I don't think I knew that Pierce was so incapable during the first half of the cycle. Axel's son-- Ethelred, (the unready). I almost hate the idea that he did not stick with his imaginary world and traded it in for a more ordinary life. But not quite-- not the way I did hate the end of Magic Mountain, for instance, where our Hans just runs off to war. Has Hans learned nothing? Or more than me? This is not at all to say that the Aegypt Cycle, overall, is not wonderful. It has everything, and where it lands at the end is not necessarily the message-- as Kraft's last work so well demonstrates. And so it is more of a personal problem for me that I am not entirely pleased by Pierce's situation-- much like life, much like life.
I especially liked some of the re-tracings, where the narrative runs off into a variant book (like Bruno as Ass), farther into fantasy, then returning with a sudden jolt-- but of course it was not like that at all. This is a writer's way (and reader's) of "having your cake and eating it too." I was happy for the diversions, the near complications, near escapes all so telling about how one's expectations, fears, and desires shape one's view of what is happening, happened, might happen.
Regrets: I assume we will never have the ability to read through the collected works of F. Kraft? A shame and a pity. I assume we will never know what became of Beau? Did the author have a scene that he decided to delete? Did Beau hug that bear until they both turned into syrup? or exploded? or shot to the heavens like skyrockets? Or Beau shot the bear, and then himself? Kidnapped him and took him away? Traded his soul? Offered sex? Certainly a clue is needed. Beau moved to Atlantis with Elvis, sure, but such a dramatic scene was set up and then left to the imagination. Here's a writing exercise for sure waiting to be written. The Beau Hypothesis. The Beau Apotheosis. Beau Deo Beau. The Golden Beau. Beau's Oblivion. Beau Unbound. Oh Beau Who, Who..... It tears me up (wet), and tears me down (dry), not to ever know....
The magic surrounding Dr. Dee and Kelly was Kraft-made, but the magic surrounding Boney and Sam was apparently real. Pierce was not able to connect the external magic dots(though wanting to) but he had a big enough time trying to connect the parts of himself. Luckily for him, that turns out to be the right journey for the soul. It seems therefore that the angels, gods, demons, are real, but if you survive them, or ignore them, or merely do not give them the control and attention they need, they are powerless. We humans are the gods, and we make them (the angels etc) our minor players and give them their powers, each to our secret desires, and our struggle is to overcome our need to do that-- to make the world simple again. Prospero chucks his book. A wonderful concept.
This was also a great thing to finish in time For Valentine's Day. The three Roses-- such a nice idea again. All there from the beginning, all concealed, all allowed to bloom.
Candide. The Name of the Rose. The Man Without Qualities. Marco da Cola, from An Instance of the Fingerpost seems a Bruno-like figure amidst similar English subterfuge. These were a few resonances experienced while reading.
And this ends here for lack of time to continue....