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Endless Things: A Part of Aegypt [Hardcover]

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Item description for Endless Things: A Part of Aegypt by John Crowley...

Praise for the Aegypt sequence:

"A dizzying experience, achieved with unerring security of technique."-The New York Times Book Review

"A master of language, plot, and characterization."-Harold Bloom

"The further in you go, the bigger it gets."-James Hynes

"The writing here is intricate and thoughtful, allusive and ironic. . . . Aegypt bears many resemblances, incidental and substantive, to Thomas Pynchon's wonderful 1966 novel The Crying of Lot 49."-USA Today

"An original moralist of the same giddy heights occupied by Thomas Mann and Robertson Davies."-San Francisco Chronicle

This is the fourth novel-and much-anticipated conclusion-of John Crowley's astonishing and lauded Aegypt sequence: a dense, lyrical meditation on history, alchemy, and memory. Spanning three centuries, and weaving together the stories of Renaissance magician John Dee, philosopher Giordano Bruno, and present-day itinerant historian and writer Pierce Moffitt, the Aegypt sequence is as richly significant as Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet or Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time. Crowley, a master prose stylist, explores transformations physical, magical, alchemical, and personal in this epic, distinctly American novel where the past, present, and future reflect each other.

John Crowley was born in the appropriately liminal town of Presque Isle, Maine. His most recent novel is Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land. He teaches creative writing at Yale University. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He finds it more gratifying that almost all of his work is still in print.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   341
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.38 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Small Beer Press
ISBN  1931520224  
ISBN13  9781931520225  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Endless Things: A Part of Aegypt?

"Endless" says it all  Aug 10, 2008
After I read "Little, Big" back in 1987, I thought I must be Crowley's biggest fan. I went back and read "Beasts" and "The Deep" and whatever else I could find of his. And I reread "Little, Big" and loved it even more the second time.

I read "Aegypt" when it first came out, and though I found it had many magnificent touches, I was a little puzzled by it, because I wasn't sure how the modern-day narrative connected with the parallel historical one about the doomed heretic Bruno. But I figured it would probably come together more clearly in the next book.

"Love and Sleep" I found even more puzzling some years later. Again, it had some great stuff, but the plot lines seemed to diverge even further rather than converge, and Pierce's descent (a word reflective of my own provincial value system, I know) into intense S & M and psycho witchy power games with Rose, and then finally driving her nuts and losing her and going partially nuts himself . . . I didn't recognize his character anymore. AND I didn't see the point of the story at all; that is, how it was relevant to what had come before.

"Daemonomania" also struck me as amorphous, if highly readable, though by then I had pretty much lost faith in finding any kind of thematic or storyline-related satisfaction that I would be able to relate to.

And then came "Endless Things."

Oh but in the meantime, there was "The Translator" which I found completely brilliant.

So since I had already read every Crowley novel I knew of (save "Lord Byron's Novel"), and since I'd already invested gosh knows how many hours in reading the first three books of the series, I felt I HAD to finish it up. It felt like part of my life's work as well as Crowley's! I felt literar-ily bonded to this man. Like we had been on this journey together through the years and I needed to complete it with him. And at the very least I figured I'd be moderately entertained, even if I wasn't clear what exactly was going on or why.

SO . . . I hereby dedicate this review to anyone else who may have strayed to this page, seen all the five-star reviews, plus the glowing words from the Washington Post, and scratched their heads and thought, "Wha . . .??"

Dear god. Can you spell B-O-R-I-N-G??? I mean, maybe I'm just not that smart. Maybe I'm too unsophisticated to grasp the genius of this work.

Then again, maybe the emperor has no clothes. This has NO plot tension whatsoever! Through the medium of Pierce's research and reading, Crowley has brought in *endlessly* MORE historical elements and personages and episodes (and arcane mythology and religious symbolism) to flesh out the "alternate history" motif . .. and how do they all bear on the narrative again?? IS there a central narrative? Are we really to be fascinated with the idea of a Y standing for crossroads in destiny, or . . . whatever?

I made it up to page 95 or so, only because Crowley was once such a massively important author in my life. I would never have suffered through so much erudite muck for any other mere mortal. But I admit defeat. I admit it! I am bored senseless!!

I mean, doesn't anybody else out there need a character or two to latch on to? Could we at least find out what's going on with Rose and the religious cult? (They were interesting at least, in a creepy way.) And how Sam's doing?

Well, Crowley must be up to something, but it's beyond me. Kudos to all of you who get it. Maybe I'm just no longer patient enough to hang in there with this kind of thing.
A multifaceted, humanizing, and magnificent sendoff to an epic saga.  Feb 7, 2008

The fourth novel and dearly-anticipated conclusion to the Aegypt series, Endless Things finishes the saga of historian Pierce Moffitt, whose far-reaching theory that, at infrequent times, the essential nature of the world alters; for example, a world that is (and always has been) regulated by the laws of physics can suddenly and transform into a world that is (and retroactively, always has been) regulated by the laws of magic. Endless Things wraps up the many side effects of one such transformation that unfolded in the previous novels, yet Pierce's theory of cyclical historical change is ultimately a source of hope - since if the universe itself is capable of endless change, so too are the downtrodden individuals living within it. A multifaceted, humanizing, and magnificent sendoff to an epic saga.
magik  Jun 29, 2007
If you haven't read Crowley, you really really need to. he will take you to magical places and you will feel perfectly at home there.
Magic, Writers Block & a fumble  May 18, 2007
NOTE: this is book four of a series and meaningless without reading the others first!
(I wrote the first part of the review after reading the marvellous first half of the book. Then I finished...)

What I have encountered so far: Magic(k). John Dee (The Official Magician and Astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I). The Brotherhood of the Rose-Cross. The Chymical Marriage. Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in Prague and The Golem. The Qaballa. Gemetria. The war in Heaven. Giordano Bruno re-spells himself and then the World. (You can't be reborn into the same world, so he changes it!) The ushering in of The New Age. The Patient Donkey (refered to by the traditional name, which this site won't let me write here). The shift in the direction of the World. The Holy Office - Army of the Catholic Church (Inquisition) seeks to show the rebellious the error of their ways, with force. The Golden City of Adocentyn. Hermes Thrice-great.
And there is "The invisible, inaudible Messenger, on great peacock-eyed wings,... whisper-crying into each ear [of the Brotherhood] just one word which causes this heart to turn in the right direction, go pack the needful things... and set out."

"Then, at last, would be the Great Instauration...a backward revolution, a backflip of wonder performed to turn the progress of the world around like a galleon and head it again for the Golden Age, which lies in the past,...but could now be sought for in the time to come, as Hermes Thrice-great in Aegypt so long ago predicted: "the restoration of all good things in the course of time by the will of God. Or by means of the gods"...

A grounding in Magic, Alchemy, Qaballa, Rosecrucianism and even Tarot are helpful.

And, as with all of John Crowley's novel's, high quality writing. It's been a long time coming. To make any sense of this last novel, you will have to read the previous three books in the Aegypt series.

As bizarre as the ideas in this book may appear, many of the events depicted in this series really happened, and the book has direct quotes lifted from the diaries of Dee and Bruno!

Well I finally finished!
There are three stories in this series, John Dee, Giordano Bruno and Pierce Moffett a contemporary author (who is John Crowley's age, height and weight, who also went to Czech Republic - see the stuff in back of book) working on completeing a Fellowes Kraft book about how the fabric of Time can shift and what was possible in one time becomes impossible and myths in the next era. And Moffett (or Crowley) was on the verge of uncovering a Magical paradigm shift happening now, involving Beau Brachman!

While completeing the book, Moffett (or Crowley) gets Writers Block, gets old and cynical and can't finish the book he started. For hundreds of pages at the end the formerly tight plot meanders, falls apart and Crowley brings in many new meaningless characters and boring events that don't enhance the plot. And he drops the contemporary plot he had previously established.

Crowley took 20 years to write this series. He had a wonderful idea through 3 1/2 books, which he ruins in the end. He is like a running back who breaks through the line, breaks through the secondary and gets free, running for the end zone, and fumbles the ball inside the 25 yard line!
When this series deals with Dee or Bruno it's wonderful. When it gets' to the end, Moffett (or Crowley) drops the ball.

I can't believe this is what Crowley had in mind, 20 years ago, when he started! A profound disappointment. What happened to Beau Brachman??
We should have know something was up when Crowley delayed writing this series and worked on "The Translator" and "Lord Byrons Novel" rather than finishing "Aegypt".

Seven years ago when the third volume in Aegypt "Daemonomania" (agrueably the best in the series) came out, one newspaper critic I read refused to give the series a rave, because it was not yet complete. At the time I thought he was wrong, now I think he was right.

as Crowley says, "Aegypt is as complete as it's ever going to be...".

I will add that it took me a week or so to breeze through the marvellous parts about Dee and Bruno, which I suspect were written long ago, and months to read the pointless, meandering ending chapters.

It occurs to me John Crowley could have a crackerjack fantasy book, an dynamite instant classic, by extracting the John Dee and Giordano Bruno sections of these four books and placing them in one seperate novel! Leave out Pierce Moffatt and the modern stuff altogether.

there are repeated references (no less than three) to Harpocartes, the God of Silence in the Hermetic tradition, in this last book of Aegypt. I wonder why?
The transforming power of the novel  May 10, 2007
This book is the final volume of 4 in the Aegypt series written over the last 20 years. It weaves together the story of writer Pierce Moffett's search into the past and a battle in 1614 that changed our world into one in which Descartes' division of subject and object is preserved and magic is banished.

Endless Things can be read without the prior volumes but the reader's experience is greatly enriched if the books are read in order. Sections of Endless Things dealing with the present are quick and engaging. The historic chapters are dense, erudite and even more interesting. At bottom, the authors (Moffett, Crowley and Fellowes Kraft) are trying to figure out "why is everything the way it is and not some different way instead?" This leads to a more personal question asked by unsuccessful searcher Moffett: "Why was he what he was and not better?"

Along the way, we see an earlier world where alchemy and magic have as much claim to an unknown future as do science and reason. We hear Crowley's conclusion that gods are but stories and that every age must find the stories that correspond to its unique reality.

The author creates words which, according to the secret of the Cabala, can change the nature of things.

This all can be heavy going at times but Crowley is our best contemporary writer of the fabulous, making the unreal seem a solid basis for a far richer reality. It is worth the reader's effort as he finds how "the gods, angels, monsters, powers and principalities...began their retreat into the subsidiary realms where they reside today, harmless and unmoving, most of them anyway, for most of us, most of the time."

At least while you read Crowley, you can feel the sense of wonder you had as a child when possibility was almost endless. Those angels and monsters come briefly alive as the author fights for and embodies the transforming power of language.

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