Fierce in its imagining and stupefying in its scope, Jerusalem is the tale of everything, told from a vanished gutter.
In the epic novel Jerusalem, Alan Moore channels both the ecstatic visions of William Blake and the theoretical physics of Albert Einstein through the hardscrabble streets and alleys of his hometown of Northampton, UK. In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England's Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district's narrative, among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol-colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them.
Employing a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles that range from brutal social realism to extravagant children's fantasy, from modern stage drama to the extremes of science fiction, Jerusalem's dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor.
In these minutes lurk demons from the second-century Book of Tobit and angels with golden blood who reduce fate to a snooker tournament. Vagrants, prostitutes, and ghosts rub shoulders with Oliver Cromwell; Samuel Beckett; James Joyce's tragic daughter, Lucia; and Buffalo Bill, among many others. There is a conversation in the thunderstruck dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, childbirth on the cobblestones of Lambeth Walk, an estranged couple sitting all night on the cold steps of a Gothic church front, and an infant choking on a cough drop for 11 chapters. An art exhibition is in preparation, and above the world a naked old man and a beautiful dead baby race along the Attics of the Breath toward the heat death of the universe.
An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and minutes of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth, poverty, and our threadbare millennium. They discuss English as a visionary language from John Bunyan to James Joyce, hold forth on the illusion of mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon the meanest slum as Blake's eternal holy city.
©2016 Alan Moore (P)2016 Recorded Books
The reading journey you will take part in while reading Jerusalem is fantastical, at times difficult, always beautiful, and ultimately worth it. There were many times while listening to this novel I was struck by the beauty within a single sentence, and then it would happen again, and then again, and then again.
The book left me with some incredibly imagery and concepts that I will not soon forget. You know it's a good book, when you feel like it was over all too soon at 61 hours.
Highly recommend for those that enjoy smart, challenging novels.
I was so impressed by this work & by Simon Vance's accomplished narration that I bought the book in hardcover so that I might read along. Section 5's homage to James Joyce's "Finnigan's Wake" is nothing short of genius performed by a preeminent actor. Intelligently beautiful.
No, I read the print version and that is the intended format, so I "prefer" that, but the audiobook has its own unique charms.
It's breadth, scope and dazzling inventiveness.
His accents and inflections are very good. he also makes the Lucia Joyce chapter accessible, as it was a challenge (and a rewarding delight) to read.
Alma and Mick Warren, the sibling characters who are the primary focus. Henry George, a freed slave living in Northampton is also a stand out. Honestly, the book is loaded with memorable characters, from the "demon" Asmodeus, who is often as hilarious as he is frightening, to the ghostly and intrepid gang of kids who guide Michael Warren through a sort of afterlife.
This is one of the most dazzling and inventive novels I have ever had the pleasure to read, and listen to, and I'll be revisiting it again, which is a comparative rarity for me.
An amazing work, an amazing performance. I read the book while listening to Vance read it along and aloud.
Made me want to start over at the beginning. A combination of David Mitchell, Gaiman and Pratchett, and other world-in-a-grain-of-sand visionaries
If Jerusalem were a recipe, the ingredients thrust into a cement mixer dimensioned blender would include the following ingredients (devoid of proportion): Breughal, Escher, Pink Floyd interpreting Sgt. Pepper's, Murikami, Einstein on hallucinogenics, Harry Potter & James Joyce grounds, all flame broiled until producing a continuous multi-dimensional yet compressed potion of all 9 circles of Dante's hell.
Amazing writing and narration. Only Tristram Shandy baffles me more. Not sure what I listened to, but glad I experienced it!
Woah! That's a big book. Alan Moore wrote about every way possible- except a pop tune- but maybe I missed it in the mayhem. And how the reader (Simon Vance) kept me into it - even when he did the really obscure section (you'll understand)-amazing
I will be thinking about this novel the rest of my life. There is no favorite scene or character...the book in its entirety is a magical hodgepodge that fills the senses...laughter..sadness..wonderment..loss and life.
I will indeed be looking more closely at the people I pass by on the street. Do I really see them? And if I do, do they see me? And do I see them now, or at another time and space.
Simon Vance turns black and white words on paper into a performance of breathtaking proportions!
I have a history of liking Moore's work but this audiobook did me in after a few chapters. It may be better, for me, in print as all of the long, elaborate, floral descriptions were lost on me. At time its as if the character would walk 5 feet but it would take 10 paragraphs to describe their experience in doing so. Writing about details that aren't needed. Yes yes style and such but I could not appreciate it listening. The narration... I liked at first... but then the way each sentence trailed off the exact same way... and the cadence was the same.... it was too forced, for me, as it seemed they were trying to sound deep or dramatic. Im sure this will chafe some fans backsides but I listen to audiobooks on my hour commute each way to work and this audiobook (what I listened to), was painful. I was really excited when I purchased it too...
Seriously guys??? I see it's on me to be the dissenting voice of reason. So be it.
Perhaps I'm a Philistine (one really can't tell about oneself), but I just can't understand why this book has received such high praise. As far as I'm concerned, the only merit that it possesses is that it's long. Maybe if you're driving across the country, then it might help you stay awake. Probably not though, as the plot is neither terribly engaging nor remotely satisfying. I'm not going to spoil anything in case you make the [unfortunate] decision to go ahead and read this thing anyway, but I will tell you this: nothing, I mean nothing gets resolved or even fully explained.
Don't get me wrong, I'm normally cool with semi-vague endings that leave you to resolve elements of the plot or speculate about the resolution of certain events (e.g., Roadside Picnic, The Windup Bird Chronicle, The Man in the High Castle, etc). In fact, I tend to like those kinds of stories far more than the average reader, so it's not an aversion to vague endings that piqued me.
Let me be clear: we're talking about massive, seemingly endless string of inane stories about generally unlikeable people few of which actually tie together in any meaningful way or resolve into satisfying conclusions. It's like an endless Stephen King character montage (the type he uses to give you a peek into the lives of the citizens of a town in novels such as Salem's Lot and Needful Things), only the characters aren't terribly interesting and the plots lack coherency. I kept thinking, "Now! This is the part where something that happened earlier is going to matter," and being completely wrong. There are exactly three threads that stitch together throughout the book, and none of them moved me in any way. I've never been so relieved to finish a book.
What irritated me the most about this book is that it left me with an impression that the author was having a bit of a laugh at me. "Look what I got this poor schlub to do—he read this whole cursed thing" It's like one of those long, tedious jokes that starts with a plaid monster in a plaid room and ends with the punchline, "And the moral of the story is you should always look both ways before crossing the street."
Barring malice, I can only conclude that the author simply didn't have a story to tell and just wanted to write, pouring out his words in a tome that he thought would would make James Joyce proud. Instead, I'll draw from one of my favorite Stephen King quotes. There are good stories told poorly, and there bad stories told well, and sometimes you luck out and find a good story told well. This, however, is neither a good story nor is it told well, no matter what the vein, pseudo-intellectual sycophants who convince themselves that tripe like this is actually good fiction may say.
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