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City of Saints And Madmen

City of Saints And Madmen
Vandermeer, Jeff
Bantam Dell Pub Group
Publish date: 2006-02-28
$14.00
553383574
Paperback

Synopsis:

City of elegance and squalorOf religious fervor and wanton lustsAnd everywhere, on the walls of courtyards and churches, an incandescent fungus of mysterious and ominous originIn Ambergris, a would-be suitor discovers that a sunlit street can become a killing ground in the blink of an eyeAn artist receives an invitation to a beheading-and finds himself enchantedAnd a patient in a mental institution is convinced he's made up a city called Ambergris, imagined its every last detail, and that he's really from a place called Chicago....

Review:

Like the Dune wold of Frank Herbert (but smarter and more absorbing), like Borges and Saramago (but younger and more contemporary), the world of Ambergris in The City of Saints and Madmen (Bantam, 2006), as described by Jeff Vandermeer, is tantalizingly incomplete in almost Proustian detail. Like a recurring dream, it is both eerie and familiar. This is not for the faint of heart. Actually a series of historical sources, guidebooks, memories, memoranda and a bibliography of related fiction, City of Saints and Madmen creates a totally alien world that, in the best tradition of science fiction / fantasy, has unnerving and creepy parallels in our own world. An ancient race is displaced by a colonizing world of humans represented by trade cartels. However, they are not able to completely eradicate the aboriginals, which results in an uneasy imbalance of two cultures co-existing. It was thrillingly weird and unlike anything else written today. In one section, Vandermeer is institutionalized for believing his own creation. It is hilarious and creepy post-modern stuff.

   
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