Wednesday 8 October 2014

Book Review: Tropic Of Cancer

Tropic of CancerTropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Henry Miller is a force. The narratives roll like thunder, approaching you slowly from a distance like a storm with a great and building anticipation, the clouds filling with sexual innuendo and class eveners and antisocial asides, readying to sit atop your head and dropkick any inhibitions out of you, lightning to split any moral codes in half.

The plot mostly involves the spontaneous adventures of a man in the city. Gaining interest in someone who caught the narrator's eye for a moment, perhaps the wife of a friend of a friend, often someone whose not completely satisfied by their ordinarly life or companion (whom the narrator may have a very honest and blunted despise toward, and whose personality and interpersonal dealings he often describes in a wonderfully take-no-prisoners manner, evoking deep belly laughs in the reader), and whom becomes a budding love interest demanding consummation.

The narrator (whom we may presume to be the author himself) takes his sharp falcon's eye and passes judgment securely over all within range, including himself.

The way HM captures a personality over a few pages (often in free-ranging passages with minimal dialogue or punctuation to hold him back) is really a phemomenon. Like a coarse blueprint. He finds a target and dives down headlong for the take. Spares no expense in wringing out any character defects. Usually displays his victims as prisoners of themselves, in carefully constructed worlds they have created, often trapping their companions (again, usually the love interest of the narrator) in their webs. So when these worlds are suddenly exposed in the act of 'having unexpected company', delicious madness ensues.

Tropic of Cancer is a wonderfully orchestrated design by HM. The writing style is unique and unabashed, very honest, and no doubt a great atrraction to the Beat Poets in their heyday, many of whom held HM to the sky and often visited him in his home, when he was an old man. I recommend it highly, though not for the faint or romantic at heart. Then again, in the spirit of amnesty, if you have an open mind/heart, this may be exactly what you need to read!

A special recommend to writers and authors, as Henry Miller can teach you alot about writing, and was certainly a mentor to me as I forged my own writing style, towards writing my book, 'Girl Without Borders', which involves an unrequited love triangle, and is available now on

Thanks for reading my review! -Katya
View all my reviews on

No comments:

Post a Comment