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No synopsis or comparison can convey the novel's lyric comedy or, indeed, its sinister power―sinister because of the strength of will Cyril exerts over his wife, his mistress, his wife's reluctant lover; lyric, since he is also a “sex-singer" in the land where music is the food of love."Need I insist that the only enemy of the mature marriage is monogamy? That anything less than sexual multiplicity . . . is naive? That our sexual selves are merely idylers in a vast wood?" Thus the central theme of John Hawkes's widely acclaimed novel The Blood Oranges is boldly asserted by its narrator, Cyril, the archetypal multisexualist. Likening himself to a white bull on Love's tapestry, he pursues his romantic vision in a primitive Mediterranean landscape. There two couples―Cyril and Fiona, Hugh and Catherine―mingle their loves in an "lllyria" that brings to mind the equally timeless countryside of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
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John Hawkes (1925–1998) was a postmodern novelist born in Stamford, Connecticut, and educated at Harvard University. He was noted for his unconventional style and views on the creation of literature and was admired by Flannery O’Connor, Robert Penn Warren, Saul Bellow, Anthony Burgess, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Donald Barthelme.Review:
“The sixth and most accessible novel by, feasibly, our best writer. . . The book's principal attribute is its relentless originality.”
- Thomas McGuane, The New York Times Book Review
“Rich, evocative, highly original piece of fiction. It gilds contemporary American literature with real, not synthetic, gold.”
- Anthony Burgess
“John Hawkes here has written the mature work of a great artist. An artist finally accessible, whose language, images, and sounds present an astonishing vision.”
- Jacques Cabau, L’Express (Paris)
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