Paris 1928: Nexus II

Henry Miller, illus. by Garry Shead. Indiana Univ., $25 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-253-00831-2
Picking up where the final book of Miller's Rosy Crucifixion trilogy left off, this rough draft of an ultimately abandoned novel is a fictionalized remembering of Miller and his second wife's first trip to Europe in 1928, a moment explored in much of his previous work, most notably Tropic of Capricorn. As Val, Miller's stand-in; and his wife, Mona, bum around Paris, their encounters with artists and friends allow Miller to interrogate the artist's life and the role of America in post-WWI society. The decadence of Paris is then cleverly juxtaposed with episodes from a later trip to Eastern Europe, where Mona's family shows Val a very different side of Europe's post-war recovery. Though the text is peppered with numerous sexually-charged illustrations by Australian artist Shead, those expecting Miller's well-known sexual provocations will find themselves somewhat disappointed by what turns out to be a rather gentle travelogue; what salacious bits there are don't come until the very end. While this will be of particular interest for Miller scholars and completionists—for whom it offers unique insights into the author's fiction and memory—casual readers will likely find it pales in comparison to Miller's more complex and complete works. Illus. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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