Mother London

Michael Moorcock, Author
Michael Moorcock, Author Harmony $19.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-517-57183-5
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Vast, sprawling, eccentric, this masterful comic novel seems to encapsulate the history of postwar Britain in its dizzy decline. Its three main characterspatients (and later outpatients) at a psychiatric clinicare improbable yet believable. We meet dreamy Mary Gasalee, a recovered amnesiac widowed and psychically scarred in the London Blitz, and the two men she seduces: young David Mummery, writer of books on London's sewers, subways and ruins, who clings to his idealized memory of their romance; and Josef Kiss, one-time professional mind-reader and grandiloquent, roving Falstaffian actor. All three are ``wireless receivers,'' gifted with psychic or intuitive faculties they would rather not have. Hopping from 1940 to the present across London's patchwork of neighborhoods, Moorcock augments the touching, tawdry tales of these intertwined lives with an enormous cast of secondary characters. Down-and-out artists, petty thieves, anxious immigrants, trendy nouveaux-riches, government functionaries, mavericks and misfits populate this elegiac valentine, as varied and alive as London itself. It's a story about the myths people create in order to survive, and Moorcock brings to it the same inventiveness found in his science fantasy ( Dancers at the End of Time ) and historical allegory ( The Brothel in Rosenstrasse ). (Mar.)
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