Tours of the Black Clock


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Theyre fighting for an age in which the heart and consciousness have not been stripped of the references points that have become denied to time and space: theyve stared into the bloody Rorschach of the Twentieth Century and seen the budding of a flower Jainlight, responsible for undoing the threads of history, tries to correct his wrongs by not breaking the myth of the monster.

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Marking the first appearance of Davenhall Island, a mysterious and isolated rock accessible to mainland America only by ferry, Tours of the Black Clock opens with the local town prostitute's son, Marc, yearning to become the next ferryman. I don't want to read into it because frankly I don't care. This is my third attempt to re-read, or re-tackle Erickson's works and I was again disappointed.

Still, someone one wrote to Erickson to say they'd read three chapters of his novel and now couldn't find their own bathroom, so it's quite fitting I guess. Tours of the Black Clock' is his third novel, and should have been the key to his literary stardom; his breakout' fiction that should have, but didn't, take him to new and more popular heights, following his marvellous Rubicon Beach' and equally wonderful Days Between Stations'.

Sadly, this has not been the case, and his novels since, while still gaining some excellent reviews, have led him to a readership that is tiny by comparison to many other more popular literary' novelists. The novel begins with Banning Jainlight, who is found dead in a boarding room, along with Dania, the obsession of his life, and Marc, their son - a product of surreality itself.

I made a long journey through time, and I was one of Twelve-year-old Cassie's life is changed when Jemmie, an African-American girl, and her family move in next door. From the prison, to the presidency, Meredith paints a vivid portrait of Mandela's inspiring life and times, providing In the spring of , with Londoners terrorised by a series of brutal murders, the private detective agency of Messr Home Fiction Tours of the Black Clock. Tours of the Black Clock Cutting a terrifying path from a Pennsylvania farm to the Europe of the s, Banning Jainlight becomes the private pornographer of the world's most evil man.

Banning Jainlight, Dania, Marc, even that sad and faithful detective Blaine, all my voices, all of my so-called protagonists You are all slaves to your dreams. Dream away! Dream it all away. View all 16 comments. I never fail to enjoy postmodern history I also knew such a version of the Twentieth Century was utterly counterfeit. That neither the rule of evil nor its collapse could be anything but an aberration in such a century All the personages of Tours of the Black Clock are refugees and pariahs of time and space Maybe we all are nothing but refugees and pariahs of time and space too.

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Customer Reviews

Apr 02, Brian rated it it was amazing Recommended to Brian by: mark monday. I've been thinking a lot about this book recently - two months after finishing it Banning Jainlight haunts me like an unscratchable itch on a phantom limb. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Steve Erickson is really a powerful warlock and his magics are threaded into the words of his novels. Bewitching, truly.

This isn't my favorite novel I've read all year, but it is the one to which my mind keeps returning. Erickson's protagonist struggles to understand what it means to be alive in a world t I've been thinking a lot about this book recently - two months after finishing it Banning Jainlight haunts me like an unscratchable itch on a phantom limb.

Erickson's protagonist struggles to understand what it means to be alive in a world that became untethered in the 20th century. We all serve at the pleasure of history Jainlight opines. In another aside he offers this beauty: In my time, I have no reason but to believe that whatever God exists is a God of revenge.

A God of revenge in a century of revenge. The author takes one of the worst participants in last century's years of misery - Adolf Hitler - and makes an alternate history equally as absurd as the real one. It works on a level so visceral it makes for a reader's discomfort and reveals even more about our world than a fictional story told in a setting of true history. Not unlike an adult fairy tale. I purchased two more Erickson novels after finishing this book, but now I'm almost afraid to start the next one.

What dark magic will his other works contain? Zeroville was a minor revelation; I wanted to foist it upon every novel-reading person I came across for the next couple months. I found an author new to me with a substantial back catalog worth seeking out. If you ever find yourself in the middle of the country, check it out. It's a good used bookstore, and just down the street from Qui I discovered Steve Erickson thanks to a review of Zeroville in Rain Taxi. It's a good used bookstore, and just down the street from Quimby's if I remember correctly. I was in Chicago to see Throbbing Gristle, and this book seems to have that same dark, creepy, mind-bending quality that is found in the best Throbbing Gristle songs.

Hitler, pornography, bloody icky death. Once upon a time I worked in a record store in downtown Minneapolis, and I accidentally made a little girl cry by playing Hamburger Lady. The weekend I bought this book probably about 4 years ago , Myopic was flooded; a whole section of the store closed off because of possible water damage. This is pretty fitting for a Steve Erickson novel--there is a flood in this book, and rising waters play an even bigger part in a couple of the others.

Anyway, if you already like Steve Erickson, read this book.


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I'm a reader, not a writer. As such I have enjoyed Goodreads immensely, although I don't interact much. I love reading the reviews that my friends write, and I spend too much time every week reading the reviews of complete strangers. As a lifelong reader, I am bummed that Goodreads was bought by Amazon.

They are a company with more than a few questionable practices, and in my opinion they have changed the book world for the worse. I think it's understandable that people are worried that any changes Amazon makes to Goodreads will benefit Amazon and won't improve the experience for the average user. I don't think anyone is going to read this non-review but if you do, I urge you to check out books from your local libraries.

Keep an eye out in laundry rooms, truck-stops, and stoops for free books. Borrow books from family and friends. Buy books at used bookstores, garage sales, estate sales, library sales, thrift stores, junk stores. If you must buy a new book, buy it from a locally-owned, independent bookstore. Also, I don't believe in e-readers. I believe in printed matter.

Fuck Kindle. Jan 23, Nate D rated it liked it Recommends it for: The secret exit from the 20th century. Recommended to Nate D by: dispatches from a sunken Venice. Shelves: read-in , 80s.

Tours of the Black Clock - Steve Erickson

However, Erickson's reach here may exceed core coherency. The actual primary narrative is a kind of conflation of The Man in the High Castle with The Entity: parallel histories decoupled in causality but linked by a supernatural invasive force. And also: a series of men animated seemingly only by the need to trail a women, endlessly, whose hidden intimations of symmetry only give way to a kind of moebius strip, leading us To a women isolated on an island, abandoning and abandoned by the world, until the slurred collapse of history. Impressive and perplexing in equal measures -- perhaps the rift at the core of the 20th century can only be approached through circling its incomprehensible center of gravity through imagines and nightmares where direct access fails.

And of images and nightmares, questions over answers, this novel provides many. Time shifts and contorts.

Tours of the black clock

Ripped open by a single artist, Banning Jainlight alters the regular course of time in his role as personal erotica-writer to Der Fuhrer when he somehow captures the specular image of his now-dead love obsession, niece Geli Raubal. And Erickson uses the rules of a dream to weave tales that are at once political without being prescriptive or pedantic—they cut to the human soul of the political to expose how the politics of lives, and people and governments are just an extension of humanity in general.

Like his most recent book, Shadowbahn , Tours of the Black Clock also shows us alternate timelines to the reality we know, re-writing history into a myth of The Real to expose the kernels of meaning behind all truths.

Tours of the Black Clock

He also de-mythologizes a figure like Hitler to expose how humanity builds myths to protect ourselves from The Real—things we divorce from reality, by creating monsters rather than reflecting on the deepest darkness of humanity. They alter your mind, and the course of your history.

The trajectory of your thinking is changed by his crepuscular dreamtales. You may find yourself darkened by them, deep inside yourself. But you are enlightened, too. Illumination often comes at the risk of making you cynical, but when one human is capable of such evil, and when time, like a black clock with no numbers, revolves around itself over and over, destined to repeat, is optimism really going to save us?

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Marking the first appearance of Davenhall Island, a mysterious and isolated rock accessible to mainland America only by ferry, Tours of the Black Clock opens with the local town prostitute's son, Marc, yearning to become the next ferryman. As Jainlight relates his ethereal, creepy tale - his prewar Vienna is a cadaverous nightmare - Marc begins his circular journey through time; time that marks off the tickings of the spectral Black Clock.

Erickson's third novel - more disturbing than Rubicon Beach , if not quite as surreally inspired, and equally chaotic. Erickson has a real talent for writing fiction that propels the reader through its puzzling, tenebrous settings. Perfect reading material for snowed-in winter nights. Feb 27, Jonathan rated it it was amazing. Aside from Gravity's Rainbow, this has one of the most resonant opening lines I've read. There's a fable-like quality to all of Steve Erickson's books - really elegant sentences that follow elliptical paths - that makes the kinds of connections only accessible in altered states.

Although his other novels do this to a greater extent, the post-apocalyptic worlds, he creates have a really heavy sense of atmosphere that remind me of even sadder versions of Bellona in Stephen Donaldson's Dhalgren. If Aside from Gravity's Rainbow, this has one of the most resonant opening lines I've read. If you've ever seen Lars Von Trier's The Element Of Crime, that's pretty much exactly what I imagined a Steve Erickson-imagined city to look like, but it's so dreamlike I've tried to watch it twice, and passed out both times. Still, someone one wrote to Erickson to say they'd read three chapters of his novel and now couldn't find their own bathroom, so it's quite fitting I guess.

Apr 07, bobbygw rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. For some unfathomable reason - and no doubt also to other devotees of his early novels - Erickson has gained only a small readership, although he has garnered some impressive reviews by a number of critics both in the US and Europe. Sadly, I just don't think Erickson has ever been marketed or promoted properly or with any real understanding of how amazing and original novelist he is. For this fiction at least, there is no doubt that Erickson deserves more attention and celebration, and popularity.

His fiction has a stark, poetic and haunting brilliance, reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison at her most intense; i. The novel begins with Banning Jainlight, who is found dead in a boarding room, along with Dania, the obsession of his life, and Marc, their son - a product of surreality itself. Dania's and Marc's presence acts as a sort of catalyst, enabling Banning to narrate his story and, by doing so, reveals the myriad and complex memories that connect them and shape their histories. Banning's life is experienced in a non-linear way; chronology and space become multi-dimensional as one memory merges with another.

At the same time, his thoughts often assume a physicality, shaping the history of Dania's life, and extending and weaving the web of characters and stories that are being told. Without his at first realising, Banning becomes a writer of erotic, strange stories for Adolf Hitler's consumption during WW2; stories which - unbeknownst to Banning - fuel Hitler's megalomaniac passions.

History overturns itself, becoming a nightmarish Wonderland, and the world becomes bleak and decidedly Orwellian in this alternative reality. The last few lines ending this tour de force are a match for and an homage to James Joyce's ending in his famous Dubliners' story, The Dead, when the main character Gabriel watches the snow fall. And are brilliantly, beautifully done. This is truly mesmeric modern fiction at its best.

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It portrays an overwhelming knot of obsessions of voyeurism, erotic desire, of the licentious nature of power unchecked, and of the pain and anguish that make up the absurd time black clock that ticked away on the face of the 20th century. Feb 01, J. Hushour rated it it was ok. The plot, which has confused far better readers than me, can be broken down like this, in a like, exemplary way: A hick with an enormous penis writes porn for Hitler and creates an alternate timeline for the niece-obsessed Fuhrer. Now, there's a lot to read into that and a few academic people have done so with "The hymen of feeling worn away like innocence.

Now, there's a lot to read into that and a few academic people have done so with often hilarious results the fetishization of Hitler; the fetishization of the author. I don't want to read into it because frankly I don't care. This is my third attempt to re-read, or re-tackle Erickson's works and I was again disappointed. Style aside, and the quote above should do, the plot itself was wanting. I guess if you care about Hitler's love life, you might be drawn to this work. I'm not sure what to think of that.

There's an awful lot of rape and the women here are basically there to be obsessed over and used for various sexual purposes. To put it crudely and in geometrical terms, women are essentially empty shapes that the man-shape must fill, in this case a covetous Hitler and various other male characters who may or may not be related. Like all Erickson books there is a mysterious woman in a blue dress.

Strange weather. And so on. I'll keep plowing on, though. Oct 12, Carl rated it really liked it. His stories are always unstuck in time and place, there is this theme that all history is happening at the same time. All his books put together in a row feel like a single epic in Erickson world, like the worlds o Steve Erickson should be much more famous than he is, at least as famous as, say, Haruki Murakami, a writer he has a fair amount in common with, in particular Murakami's Wind Up Bird Chronicles or Kafka On The Shore.

All his books put together in a row feel like a single epic in Erickson world, like the worlds of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or William Faulkner, or even Kurt Vonnegut. And yes, there is even some Pynchon in there. After recently slogging through the Complete Stories Of Kafka, I also appreciated what a page-turner this book is. It even works if you read it like a slightly off-kilter sci-fi alternate history novel a la Man In The High Castle. Sure, let's compare him to Philip K. Steve Erickson. The course of a century is rewritten in this fabulously warped odyssey, named a best book of the year by the New York Times Tours of the Black Clock is a wild dream of the twentieth century as told by the ghost of Banning Jainlight.

After a disturbing family secret is unearthed, Jainlight throws his father out of a window and burns down the Pennsylvania ranch where he grew up.

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