UNDERSEA by Paul Hazel


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Cosmic conundrums are seeded through this second volume of Hazel's heroic allegorical trilogy--but the most nagging conundrum of all is: Is it worth the trouble to untangle the author's mesh of myth and metaphysics--or should one simply relax and allow Hazel's insidiously beautiful landscapes and smoky transmogrifications to roll on? In either case, the central story here returns to Finn--who killed his father, the Old King, at the close of Yearwood (1980). And now, in the course of his journey to claim his kingdom of both sea and land, Finn will die and be reborn thrice. He'll appear as Ar Elon, the seal-man King with webbed hands. He'll take the form of Llugh, his own son by his sister Gear. And, after a journey through the Land of the Dead to his fated undersea kingdom, Finn will (on a white eight-legged horse) lead a group of soldier seal-men toward the land again . . . to a final, predestined battle between Finn and Llugh. Studded with images of birth and death, fecundity and sterility, despair and redemption, these adventures are foggy stuff indeed. And the dialogue is often pretentiously opaque. But though Finn's time-traveling, identity-switching Quest is much less accessible than Yearwood, it's still possible to rock pleasantly with the beat of Hazel's operatic landscapes and seascapes--and those partial to surreal episodes with mystical inferences may enjoy the symbolism as well as the saline, often-stunning scenery.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown