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BLACK SPRING by Henry Miller


by Henry Miller

Pub Date: April 4th, 1963
ISBN: 0802131824
Publisher: Grove

"Today I am out for another grand obsessional walk. I and myself firmly clued, together. "—A perennial on bookstalls along the Seine for the past 25 years, Black Spring is one of the few books you could read on your deathbed for a sure last laugh. It's an autobiography about Brooklyn (circa 1915 or so) and Paris in the Thirties. It is also a very great book, in a way that the two Tropics never quite are. No one, including Thomas Wolfe, has ever described Brooklyn with the gusto Miller lavishes upon every storefront and shifty citizen. His depiction of a tailor shop he worked in has more wriggling life crammed into fifty pages than most writers get into five hundred. Here, too, is a panoramic ode to the human bladder that would make Whitman kick his kitchen table with envy. Always right, Black Spring's first 147 pages are probably the best Miller ever wrote, with little gratuitous sex but enough adrenalin for a horserace. The book falls down grotesquely during the last hundred pages, going off into murky surrealism, disordered Bosch-like imaginings and a general somnambulism common to vampire movies. But even encumbered with this, Miller's autobiography is superior self-revelation, in a bloomy-minded prose of matchless vigor. Maybe it's not for everybody, but if you like it wildly. One opinion: Imperishable.