Centering on eccentric English millionaire shipowner, notorious hell-raiser, and the envy of all St Petersburg, Dan Yack, this strange travel yarn begins with the protagonist finding out that he is no longer wanted by his lover, Hedwiga. Rejection letter in hand, he eventually wanders into a nightclub to impulsively invite a handful of artists to ...
Centering on eccentric English millionaire shipowner, notorious hell-raiser, and the envy of all St Petersburg, Dan Yack, this strange travel yarn begins with the protagonist finding out that he is no longer wanted by his lover, Hedwiga. Rejection letter in hand, he eventually wanders into a nightclub to impulsively invite a handful of artists to accompany him on a world voyage via the Antarctic. As their journey progresses, the weather worsens and they enter pack-ice. Impatient, Dan orders the crew to land him and his three companions while they wait for a clear passage. They have enough provisions for a long, dark polar winter, but things do not run smoothly. The musician destroys their watches, the poet drifts off into serious daydreams, and the sculptor starts making statues of Dan Yack in ice. And Dan himself is worried--about time, about breaking his monocle, and about having no-one to love. But when the sun finally returns after the polar winter, no one could predict the surreal disaster that is about to unfold--a scenario involving a plum pudding, whales, women, and World War I.
Publishers Weekly, 1987-10-23 Poet, journalist and novelist Cendrars (1887-1961) translated his own restless travels into fictional metaphors of modern instability. Central to this vertiginous novel, with its sizzling verbal fireworks, is an epic voyage to the South Pole. Self-indulgent Dan Yack, madcap heir to a Liverpool shipping fortune, learns that his beloved Hedwiga is marrying a Russian prince. Consoling himself drunkenly in decadent, fin-de-siecle St. Petersburg, he decides to plunge into adventures ranging from zany to macabre. He invites three penniless artiststhe poet Goischman, the sculptor Sabakov and Lamont the composeron a random schooner voyage. Together they winter in the strange and terrifying fastnesses of Antarctica, where icebergs duplicate the architecture of European cities. Infatuated with the Antarctic's ``inhuman allure,'' Dan Yack barely reacts to the gruesome disasters that befall his companions following an interminable and hallucinating polar night. Hurling himself with machine-like energy into fresh absurdist enterprises, Dan Yack confronts a final bizarre solitude. As a kaleidoscopic document of literary ``cubism'' written in 1929, this novel anticipates the surreal atmosphere of today's avant-garde fiction. (November) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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