Here, Erickson (Days Between Stations, 1985; Rubicon Beach, 1986) offers an ambitious dreamlike fable about an obsessed man...

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TOURS OF THE BLACK CLOCK

Here, Erickson (Days Between Stations, 1985; Rubicon Beach, 1986) offers an ambitious dreamlike fable about an obsessed man who becomes Adolf Hitler's private pornographer. Written in 164 short chapters, the story centers on Banning Jainlight. When his brothers bring him to a woman they describe as an Indian prostitute, Jainlight psychically realizes the woman is his real mother. He kills one brother, then rushes to the family's Pennsylvania farm to paralyze his father and burn down the house. Then fleeing to New York, he begins writing stories, gets discovered by an agent for Hitler, and flees again--this time to Vienna, where his customized pornography about ""you"" becomes obsessive (""you"" is modelled in many respects on Geli Raubal, Hitler's niece and dead lover), both to Jainlight and to Client Z (Hitler). Hitler takes over Austria to be near Jainlight, and the mutual obsession affects the war: it saves Russia but dooms England, which falls. As Erickson subverts time and history, he blurs point-of-view, seamlessly (for the most part) interweaving Jainlight's story with surreal subplots and imaginative landscapes (""Fifty-six years later, after the century has long since run out of numbers but only begins to understand it's doomed never to die. . .""; ""At night I go on a secret mission inside her. I voyage up her canals, wander her passages searching for a place to build what she'll give birth to months from now""). Jainlight finally kidnaps Hitler--with whom he's been imprisoned--and takes him to Yucatan, and the book turns back into itself in a resolution intended to be magically realistic and visionary. Sometimes more evasive than visionary, more tedious than engrossing. Mostly, though, a novel that works as a kind of nocturnal surrealism--experimental, luminously written, and elusive.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1988

ISBN: 074326570X

Page Count: -

Publisher: Poseidon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988