By Allen Kurzweil
In France, at the eve of the Revolution, a tender guy named Claude web page units out to develop into the main creative and bold inventor of his time. during a profession jam-packed with violence and keenness, Claude learns the humanities of enameling and watchmaking from an irascible, defrocked abbé, apprentices himself to a pornographic bookseller, and applies his erotic erudition to the seduction of the spouse of an impotent wigmaker. however it is Claude's maximum device-a conversing mechanical head-that either crowns his occupation and results in an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and much extra bizarre.
Hailed by means of critics for the shimmering brilliance of its innovations and its uncanny constancy to the textures of the earlier, A Case of Curiosities locations Allen Kurzweil securely within the ranks of the best literary artists of our time.
The inventive tale spun right here through first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of strange and exciting evidence, and a wealthy, lusty photo of past due 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges nation lad Claude Page's ability for drawing. lower than his mentor's tutelege, Claude discovers capacities for clinical inquiry, watchmaking and portray erotic scenes in miniature. yet his genius is denied expression whilst he hastily runs away to Paris and apprentices to a loathsome bookseller and broker in pornography. The occasions that bring about the blossoming of Claude's abilities are similar by way of Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively by way of irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are well interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical evidence, too; we research, for instance, that kurzweil ability "pastime" in German. the writer is so much profitable, despite the fact that, in making a gallery of memorable, Dickensian characters. The bawdy population of Paris's fetid slums are depicted with affection, unlike the hypocritical, pretentious participants of the higher category, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. even though Claude's such a lot outstanding invention, the "Talking Turk," falls sufferer to that cataclysm, he leaves to posterity a "case of curiosities": a building known as a momentum hominum , "the chronicle of a existence. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does a similar. BOMC and QPB choices; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed company details, Inc.
From Library Journal
The narrator buys a field of randomly assembled gadgets at a Paris public sale. it's a existence field, the souvenir hominem of Claude web page, a very talented 18th-century French clockmaker with a keenness for the mechanical and a very good zest for all times. As a tender guy, he's taken in by way of a God-hating abbe who employs him to color naughty scenes, with relocating components, at the faces of watches and clocks. "The tree of information is there for us to climb," counsels his mentor. "Climb it. forget about the fences. Swing from department to department . . . . You, Claude, are a discoverer." In Paris, later, Claude struggles to build a wonderful speaking automaton, with which he hopes to earn his fortune. yet fortune has a unique plan for Claude. The eccentrics and bohemians who contact Claude's existence are all and sundry grotesques of compelling curiosity and comedian strength. Kurzweil tells a true tale; it really is humorous, human, and fascinating unexpectedly. hugely suggested for basic collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback decisions; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of know-how, Utica
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A persistent theme in diaries and letters home is the sight of dead bodies and carcasses. Lt-Colonel Brownlie recalled that ‘Everywhere there were dead bodies – cows, horses or men. ’16 Dead cows soon became one of the famous macabre sights in Normandy: ‘the fields full of dead cattle, mainly black and white . . 17 For Sydney Jary, commanding a platoon of the 4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, Normandy became ‘a kind of surrealistic dream. Hot, dusty. ’ 18 Liberation on the Move: Normandy 43 The problem with the bucolic landscape of Normandy was not primarily the unappealing visibility of its dead cattle, but rather the very real dangers that its topography presented to the fighter.
He and General Giraud now have some sort of mutual agreement which will be for the help of all. 67 Underlying the booklet was the repeated message to the soldiers that Americans were popular in France even before their arrival on French soil: Mostly, the French think Americans act square, always give the little fellow a helping hand, and are good-natured, big-hearted and kind. They look up to the United States as the friend of the oppressed and the liberator of the enslaved. The French trust both you and your country more than they do most other men and nations; We are friends of the French and they are friends of ours.
Driving on was the aim, and movement was key. Very often, of course, the movement was to be desperately slow: getting troops off the killing beach of Omaha, for example, digging in for the attack around Caen, or struggling through the bocage to get to Cherbourg. As Max Hastings suggested, the struggle in Normandy to gain ground, often as little as a few fields, came close, ‘to matching the horror of the eastern front or of Flanders thirty years earlier’. 1 The French who lived through this Liberation experience were thus to meet their Allies in the maelstrom of battle, as they bombed a town, moved through a commune, and inched their way over the fields of Normandy.