D.B. Pacini, June 30, 2009 (view all comments by D.B. Pacini)
This not really a book plot-less, stream of consciousness, anti-everything, self-indulgent, crudely rudely gimme some boody, was one of the novels in the 1960s that tested USA laws about pornography. It is also regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century literature. Time magazine lists it in their 100 Best English-language novels from 1923-2005. The preface is supposed to have been written by Anais Nin, but many believe Miller wrote it. I've never been as impressed with Henry Miller and Henry Miller is impressed with Henry Miller, but I do appreciate his staggering (specifically chosen word) literary talent, his abrupt/curt one-liners, and some of his intoxicated poetic rantings/ramblings.
I first read Tropic of Cancer in a teen reading club. One boy in our group insisted that it is "an awesome read" if you are falling down drunk. One girl said she got a sexually transmitted disease from reading it---and she announced that she was going to stop engaging in one night stands, even with cute guys. One girl reviewed the book with her own curt one-liner, saying that "Tropic of Cancer was confetti of seediness" in her opinion. Three of us became even more determined to become "real" writers.
Jerry Seinfeld had a successful TV show about nothing. Maybe Jerry got his "nothing" idea from Miller. In a Seinfeld episode Jerry is accused of not returning Tropic of Cancer to the library after checking it out when he was in high school.
I admit, I'm no Miller scholar, but I think I can say anything I damn well please about this novel---Henry Miller couldn't care less.
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Debra Zyla, February 25, 2008 (view all comments by Debra Zyla)
Sex, food and lots of Pernod. Henry Miller calls Paris a whore and reveals her most intimate parts, including her underbelly, and makes us question that romantic notion of springtime, or anytime, in the City of Drab. She is wet, nasty, hungry and in a foul mood - always. His young expatriate writer is the vagabond you almost, if not truthfully come to, admire. You want him to get that proofreading gig; you love it when he laughs in the priest's face; you hate to admit it but confess you'd do the same thing he does in the end. For the few rambling passages, I will not call it "perfect." But Miller's take on world religion alone, especially his thoughts on Christianity and his hilarious posing of "what if...?" as to what the "great miracle" might be, is worth the price of this book.
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LB Abreu, May 30, 2007 (view all comments by LB Abreu)
One of the finest books I have ever read. Henry Miller's descriptive style of writing is incredibily funny at times, and brutally honest at others. You find yourself laughing, suffering and surviving together with him, walking in step through the different streets of Paris laden with "trollops" and filthy tenaments...alone, cold, wet and hungry...always hungry.
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Grove Press -
Miller's depraved recollections of himself amid a cast of literary beggars and leeches is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written seventy years ago. Often overlooked by literary purists for its lack of pretentiousness, this is the stripped down, bare naked American heart beating to its own tune.
Now hailed as an American classic, "Tropic of Cancer," Henry Miller's masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller's famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. "Tropic of Cancer" is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, "one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century."
Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Millers masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Millers famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century.”
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