Item description for Visa For Avalon by Bryher & Susan McCabe...
In this chilling futuristic novel, four men and women attempt an escape to legendary Avalon after the Movement” threatens the liberty and comforts they have taken for granted. Visa for Avalon takes place in an unnamed country and an unnamed time. In it, Bryher uses her knowledge of history and psychology to examine the eruption of a political crisis in a surprisingly familiar setting. First published in 1965, it resonates profoundly in the U.S. in 2004. The style is understated and tense as Bryher subtly suggests that closing our eyes to growing restrictions and loss of liberties does not protect us. And she offers a provocative commentary about the paradise” of King Arthur's legendary Avalon, as well. This is a wake-up book that will encourage readers of all ages and backgrounds to defend democracy and get out and vote.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.75" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2004
Publisher Paris Press
ISBN 193046407X ISBN13 9781930464070
Availability 0 units.
More About Bryher & Susan McCabe
Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman) was a poet, novelist, critic, patron, and editor of the film journal Close Up and the literary magazine Life and Letters Today.
Reviews - What do customers think about Visa For Avalon?
Prophecy of Tomorrow Mar 7, 2005
I stumbled across VISA FOR AVALON almost by accident. Like many I have read very little by Bryher and know almost nothing about her, but I remember my grandmother delighting in her historical novels of British and Celtic bygone ages. This book on the other hand is a modern day thriller, seemingly very much influenced by the spy thrillers of Nicholas Blake, the poet C Day Lewis, particularly his famous anti-Fascist tale THE SMILER WITH THE KNIFE. Orson Welles planned to make TSWTF as a vehicle for Lucille Ball when he still had an office at RKO; it would have turned Lucille Ball into an anti-Fascist sculptress caught up in a very Graham Greene predicament.
As a bonus we get a fine introduction by the poet (SWIRL) and scholar (CINEMATIC MODERNISM: MODERNIST POETRY AND FILM) Susan McCabe, who teaches at USC and who plans to write a full biography of the novelist Bryher. Not only that, but we get an afterword also by McCabe which puts this novel into context in any number of senses, linking this book to Bryher's other fiction, and seeing the parallels between the age in which it was written (the 1960s) and the Hitler era in which Bryher used her money the right way. And today when so many of our civil liberties are being torn away from us one by one.
VISA FOR AVALON grabs you from the very first word and won't let you go until the twisty end.
Slim, subtle, and sly -- and well worth the buy Jan 17, 2005
VISA FOR AVALON is a slim book - Audrey Hepburn slim, with all that implies. The plot is seemingly simple (and filmic). Basically, within the space of a week and for different reasons, seven people decide to try to leave their country (a close copy of England), the only home most of them have ever known, before it is too late to do so, and go to a place that's little more than a rumor. ("'Avalon? ... It's very unfashionable these days.'") The sweet, confused, comic, desperate, disparate world that Bryher conjures in her novella is a pre-dystopia. Her story depicts what things might have been like - might be like - at the edge, just before.... Before the books start getting burned, before soma is ingested, before history gets revisioned, before reading becomes a criminal act.... Just before escape is impossible, just before Mordred claims victory. Faintly futuristic with Arthurian teases and political squints, VISA FOR AVALON is also subliminally Delphic, recalling that oracle's confounding challenge: know thyself.
Suspenseful but not thought provoking Jan 4, 2005
A woman is informed by the government that her property will be expropriated in order to build a factory, presumably a privately owned facility. This causes her and her friends to decide to leave the country.
It reminded me of how in the United States today, there are plenty of examples of the government forcing land owners to sell to build state sanctioned shopping malls and the like.
While, I find such use of government power dismaying, using such an event to paint the society as totalitarian seems over the top. The author could have found better clues (introduced later in the story) for her characters that the society they live in had become totalitarian.
Worth reading Oct 31, 2004
I was interested in this book in part because I'd heard of Bryher in connection with the poet H.D., and in part because it was recommended by the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi, who, I figured, gets a lot out of her reading. She's definitely right about Visa for Avalon. It's half suspense/half political allegory, about several friends who belatedly realize that their (unnamed) country has been taken over by a totalitarian movement while they were involved in their own lives. They decide to leave for another country called Avalon, which they don't know much about, and set about to get visas and to get out before the borders shut down. It is beautifully written -- lyrical, observant, and concise. It reminds me a bit of Coetzee. The novel apparently draws on Bryher's experience in helping Jews escape the Nazis -- she lived in Switzerland in the early part of the war and helped many people escape Germany. And the book clearly resonates in the politics of the world today.