Not your ordinary book. I was looking for something big and, boy oh boy, did I pick the right tome. Written by John Cowper Powys and published in the 1930’s, this novel is a microscopic and macrocosmic look at the spiritual, erotic, criminal, romantic, capitalistic, communistic, Arthurian, Nordic, Socratic, cosmologic (you get the idea) goings-on in Glastonbury, UK.
Gnostic in every sense, from the wood louse’s consciousness, “embryonic trees in love,” FIRST CAUSE, and the grand observer watching the people of Glastonbury as if in an aquarium, history and contemporary movements weave a story as old as the neolithic residents of Somerset long before the Druids, Danes, and passersby from Norfolk and Cornwall. Oh and Joseph of Arimathea.
It’s writing is dense but humorous. “This nod-the symbol of that secret freemasonry of the unfastidious realism that binds all women together – comforted Sis amazingly.”
What’s it about? How people spend money, time and thoughts. There’s an inheritance provided to what other members of the family deem undeserving. Then there’s the Arthurian legend that is alive in Glastonbury…will he return? Are there ghosts? And where does Christianity reside in all this? What exactly IS the Holy Grail?
Oh, sex. There’s plenty of that. Not graphic but better, desire, restraint, lust, purity, some incest and suggested bestiality, same sex loves…etc. All with this amazing undercurrent of “what is the meaning of life?”
If you enjoy a challenge, at least it was for me, take this one on! A great read for the longer nights. From further reading on Mr. Powys, you either love him or despise him.