From cartoons that draw their creator into another world, and demonic paintings that exert a sinister influence on our own world to fairy tales that express the secret losses and anxieties of their tellers...These are the elements that Steven Millhauser employs with brilliant, often disquieting, effect in "Little Kingdoms". The three novellas ...
From cartoons that draw their creator into another world, and demonic paintings that exert a sinister influence on our own world to fairy tales that express the secret losses and anxieties of their tellers...These are the elements that Steven Millhauser employs with brilliant, often disquieting, effect in "Little Kingdoms". The three novellas range from an elaborate alternate universe constructed by a gentle eccentric to a gothic tale of nightmarish jealousy. Exuberantly inventive, and as mysterious as dreams, "Little Kingdoms" will delight, mesmerise, and transport anyone who reads them.
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-07-12 Overlappings of imagination and reality cast magic through these three vividly conceived novellas exploring the ramifications of artistic creation. In ``The Little Kingdom of J. Franklin Payne,'' the eponymous hero, a cartoonist for a New York City newspaper in the 1920s, labors in the study of his Mount Hebron home on a ``secret, exhilarating project'': thousands of numbered ink drawings that will constitute moments of an elaborate animated film. As the world of his art becomes more splendid, the day-to-day reality of his life becomes progressively less rewarding. ``The Princess, the Dwarf, and the Dungeon'' juggles familiar motifs of legend--a beautiful, virtuous princess; a jealous prince; a scheming dwarf; a towering castle and subterranean dungeon--in its tale of a town's self-conscious effort to attach a fanciful, folkloric past to its utilitarian present. ``Catalogue of the Exhibition'' fashions a biography of fictional 19th-century painter Edmund Moorash and his intimates from a sequential discussion of his exhibited works. Millhauser ( The Barnum Museum ) evokes the impact of non-verbal art with uncommon ease. He develops each of these stories with such narrative precision and well-chosen detail that even his most fanciful and abstract conceits fully engage the reader. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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