Everyman Masters, sixty-five, begins a spiritual journey through the mysterious Caribbean carnival of masks....
|Title||:||The Guyana Quartet|
|Number of Pages||:||463 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Guyana Quartet Reviews
Embarked on this title because of the recommendation Anthony Burgess gave it as part of his '99 best novels' treatise.Unfortunately I can't say I'm enjoying it. I am sure it would be of strong technical interest to anyone keen on novelistic craft, in that it shows a dazzling and ambitious way to write a novel. Many pages and sections of the prose do read more like poetry. And it is a great work of South American literature; authentic and true and strong.But in practical terms, it is an incomprehensible jumble. It so thoroughly abandons traditional writing guidelines that all the imagery and fireworks become a hindrance.You simply can't find coherent sense of whats going on. Harris deliberately severs his narration from all the mechanics that allow readers to follow along. When there is dialog you often can't tell who is speaking to whom; when there is action you can't determine who is performing the action. Emotions and thoughts seem to hang disembodied in the air; the subjects or objects to which they might be associated are constantly shuffled like cards.The first of the four novellas has so far been the best: there is at least some shred of a story. The key technical feat Harris displays was treating the reader to a protagonist describing himself from different angles, as in a cubist painting.This goes even further than another novel on Burgess' list, John Updike's 'The Coup' where the narrator flips back'n'forth from 3rd- person to 1st-person POV from chapter to chapter. Harris trumps that, switching POV from one sentence to the next. Truly daring and psychedelic.The story is nominally about a journey of a group of men down a branch of the Amazon river; but you can hardly tell. Harris doesn't expend effort to detail the trip except from within the dream-like and kaleidoscope-seeming arrangements of the men's various inner mental states. Parts #2 and #3 of the book --heck, I can't say what is even occurring. I *wish* there was a river journey. Instead, its just a fuzzy, gauzy mess of 1-2 characters wandering about on vacant savannah. Its as if words are just sprayed onto the page at random. Absolute gibberish which quickly becomes a chore to complete.I'm glad I chose this book --how many truly South American novels are there?--but I will be glad when its over.
The four books that make up this inter-related/relating resonating ecosystem of dream language and philosophy is among the few works that I know that start to transcend what a book or novel is. It is right in there with Finnegans Wake, it has its own life and seems to transmogrify in parallel with the life of the reader and the reader's dreams and imagination. The quartet is not for most people. It is for those who have perhaps had experiences in the shocks and revelations of cross-culturality/cross-cultural encounters, or for those who have worked long and hard to collect, ponder and fathom their own dream scapes and dream lives in tandem with the life of the day. Harris weaves these and other concerns, not least of which would be a quantum indeterminant way of writing/talking about what one sees, to say what one knows without killing it with categories, conceptuality, and conventions of grammar, thought and language, yet all the while employing those suspect tools of expression, commuication and dare I say, art.There is no one thinking, writing, imagining things at even close to the level that Wilson Harris has been doing consistently for half of a century. He simply cannot be passed up by anyone with a penchant for deep psychic, cultural, mythic and deep nature exploration as it has all come together in the El Doradan forest frame of Guyana.
As mentioned in a previous review, this is a difficult book but I found it most rewarding, though I have read a number of articles about Guyana, both fiction and nonfiction before.The flow of the book is just as foreign as the rivers and the geography and the history of the people.
I couldn't make it. I'll try again later.