Rambling debut about a young man’s epic quest to reach the mythical city of Morning Town and gain the hand of his beloved.
The City by the Sea contains two types of people: the winged and the wingless. Our story concerns a wingless librarian named Pico. Reclusive and lonely, he reads voraciously, finding solace in the tales of those loves and adventures that have so far eluded him in life. One day, Pico happens to be walking by the sea when he sees a winged girl, Sisi, drowning in the surf and rescues her. He and Sisi soon fall in love, but there is no chance of a union between the winged and the wingless. On the point of despair, Pico discovers an ancient manuscript describing a lost volume, The Book of Flying, which instructs the wingless on how they may grow wings. The only copy of this book is in the distant city of Morning Town, however, and a dark forest full of monsters and brigands stands between here and there. What’s fear to a young man in love? Pico sets off full of hope and in high spirits, but soon learns that the dark forest’s reputation is no myth. Kidnapped, raped, attacked, and tempted by a succession of robber queens, minotaurs, cannibals, rabbits, and beauties, Pico definitely gets to Morning Town the hard way. But then, that’s the only way to earn your wings. As usual in faux mythologies of this sort, the author lavishes us with overwrought prose (“Solya flourished in sunshine when the light spelt out the conjugations of orange in her hair”) and names (Adveni, Balquo, Zelzala) that sound as though they fell out of some Esperanto epic.
Strictly for New Agers—who will eat it up with a trowel.