[PDF/EPUB] In Viriconium ↠ M. John Harrison

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And the result is at turns comic tragic and absurd Much less fantastic in tone it could be set in an alternate Lond. I read this as In Viriconium in the Viriconium collection so I don t know if there are any differences but I really enjoyed this short novel It reminded me a lot of Dostoyevski s works and had a lot of the same appeal It really is barely a fantasy novel and much a work of literature I can honestly say I ve never read another both uite like it

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In Viriconium

Third book in the Viriconium seuence The city is beset by a mysterious plague that affects the artists uarter and dr. In Viriconium or The Floating Gods Third book in the British author s Viriconium cycle a short novel of great poetic power But beware this is hardly a feel good adventure tale within the genres of either science fiction or fantasy Nay with In Viriconium we visit the city in the grip of plague in many respects we might as well be back in medieval Europe during the Black Death but with M John Harrison s yarn there s some serious off the wall weirdness brewingWeirdness as in the common people inhabiting the Lower City enshrouded in plague not in the usual sense but a kind of thin fog whereby they age uickly or fall victim to various debilitating illnesses Meanwhile the Upper City although spared the fog s deadly infestation sinks into decadence on all levels material spiritual intellectual artisticWeirdness as in the twin princes of the city the fat meaty Barley brothers they weren t human that s a fact rumble and bumble belch fart and vomit while playing the part of mindless pranksters on stairways and bridges and garden patches in streams and in the city s oddest corners They even try to sell the rats they ve cudgeled to shocked restauranteurs Where did these two ominous slubberdegullions come from really Perhaps a new form of Reborn Men or outer space alien readers encountered in A Storm of Wings Weirdness as in two heroes initially encountered in The Pastel City bent and transformed almost beyond recognition Cellur the Brdmaker keeps to his room in an old tower collects stuffed birds apparently has lost his memory and admits he doesn t know how old he is Tomb the dwarf now calls himself The Grand Cairo and heads the city as something of a counter to the Barley brothers He even has his own police force The Grand Cairo is a major player in the world of In Viriconium but you will have to look hard to detect any of the old noble fire so present in the first two novels in the cycle The tale is told in five chapters represented by five tarot cards a tale revolving around Ashlyme the portrait painter attempting to rescue another artist Audsley King from her plight as a ravaged plague victim in the Lower City Similar to A Storm of Wings the language throughout is high baroue an entire baroue cathedral made of words thus the challenge for a reviewer to convey the inner spirit of the book since the story is all in the precise way it is told With this in mind I ll shift to a number of In Viriconium direct uotes relating to the city s arts and literature and link my comments with these He hung the painting in different places to find the best light and stood in front of them for long periods thrilled by the stacked planes of the landscapes the disuieting eros of her inner world Ashlyme is viewing a series of Audsley King paintings M John Harrison doesn t describe the paintings in detail rather he delineates Ashlyme s reactions to them In this way we as readers are free to imagine the paintings for ourselves He touched the mask with his fingers It was the head of a trout to which someone had added thick rubbery lips and a ludicrous crest of spines Ashlyme dons a grotesue mask as a disguise in his attempt to carry Audsley out of the Low City The rubber fish mask covers his head completely and can be seen as a microcosm for the grotesueness of the entire city He was popular in the salons The Marchioness L called on him with a new novelist A snatch from a conversation Ashlyme has with decadent aristocrats from the Upper City I would dearly love to read one of this novelist s novels I would guess the story told is a cross between Boccaccio s The Decameron and Italo Calvino s Invisible Cities In this case he had done the painting over a group portrait of the Baroness de B and her family which had never been collected from the studio As the wet summer advanced and the new paint began to fade the image of the Baroness was beginning to reemerge in the form of a very old woman holding a flower slowly absorbing and distorting the figure of Audsley King Ashlyme reuses the same canvas to save on his resources Such a vivid image of a city pulled down into decadence the old Baroness emerging to engulf a great vital young artist A self portrait painted at about this time Kneeling with raised arms shows him his eyes sueezed closed apparently crawling and groping his way about his own studio a whitish empty space He seems to have come up against some sort of invisible barrier against which he is pressing one side of his face so that it is distorted and whitened into a mask of frustration and despair One of the many invisible barriers Ashlyme must break through if he is to be of a positive force in the city he dearly loves And the longer he stayed in his studio biting his pen listening to the rain dripping in the attic trying to conjure up in his mind s eye a picture of the thin intense provincial girl who had arrived in Viriconium twenty years ago to shock the artistic establishment of the day with the suppressed violence and frozen sexual somnambulism of her self portraits One can only wonder how Audsley King captured her own frozen sexual somnambulism in her self portrait keeping in mind such a person engages in sexual acts while in non rapid eye movement NREM sleep Out of the tarot cards on the floor came an intense coloured flare of light as if they had been illuminated suddenly from behind Ashlyme felt it flash across his face green and yellow scarlet and deep blue like light from a melting stain glass window The tarot cards are from the deck of fortune teller Fat Man Etteilla This passage is an example of the rich ornate visual impact on nearly every pageAfter reading In Viriconium Neil Gailman noted how he now sees all cities having a Lower City and an Upper City and how in a certain way all cities are Viriconium I ve had this experience myselfBritish author M John Harrison Born 1945

Free read In Viriconium

Ains their vitality and hope As artist Audsley King slowly dies from the plague her friend Ashlyme tries to save her. This is definitely an interesting turn in the loose trilogy It s so distant and distinct from the other two that it s hard to compare it to them I enjoyed it but I think my expectations colored my reading Storm of Wings was so unbelievably amazing that I was hoping for another book like that This is much subdued about living in the Pastel City while the others are epics about defending or curing it There s a plague but it never seems very ominous regardless how widespread it isAnd the whole story is sort of shadowed by the previous two novels There are echoes of them in here which is very interesting and of course it sort of subverts those novels and what they builtA very solid book and maybe deserving of five stars but I can t bring myself to give that extra star here


10 thoughts on “In Viriconium

  1. says:

    M John Harrison's prose is filled with a rich idiosyncratic music and the structure of his Viriconium novels is musical too If The Pastel City is a late symphony by Beethoven a classical conventionally constructed work filled with individualistic energy straining to break its bonds and if A Storm of Wings is a symphony by Mahler brooding beauties from an immense modern orchestra fragmented in its structure held togethe

  2. says:

    In Viriconium or The Floating Gods Third book in the British author's Viriconium cycle a short novel of great poetic power But beware this is hardly a feel good adventure tale within the genres of either science fiction or fantasy Nay with In Viriconium we visit the city in the grip of plague in many respects we might as well be b

  3. says:

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy LiteratureIn this third volume of the VIRICONIUM omnibus we visit the old artists’ uarter of Viriconium — a lazy decaying place where gardens bloom and the smell of black currant gin exudes from the taverns wh

  4. says:

    With In Viriconium the novella that comprises the third part of Harrison's tetrad we arrive fully into the twilit mystery of the great chromat

  5. says:

    This is definitely an interesting turn in the loose trilogy It's so distant and distinct from the other two that it's hard to compare it to them I enjoyed it but I think my expectations colored my reading Storm of Wings was so unbelievably amazing that I was hoping for another book like that This is much subdued

  6. says:

    I read this in one go with Viriconium Nights and basically I can copy paste the review from that book here verbatimWhat I said about A Storm of Wings 'I wanted to like it than I did' also goes for this book but I did like it betterThere was focus on the actual city which has a weird vibe which I did like The sometimes meandering or even lagging plot of the stories was a bit off putting sometimes this certainly was no page turnerA

  7. says:

    I thought this short novel was fantastic and made me want to dig much deeper into the Viriconium collection The main threat in this

  8. says:

    I read this as In Viriconium in the Viriconium collection so I don't know if there are any differences but I really enjoyed this short novel It reminded me a lot of Dostoyevski's works and had a lot of the same ap

  9. says:

    Man into fish; fish into man Get over it Excellent

  10. says:

    Fascinating change of tack in this volume

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