Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Henry Miller - Quiet Days In Clichy

Two writers, broke, single and looking for action, and their loves and lusts, are the focus of this slim book by Henry Miller. Written in 1940, the writing style is bold, honest and unique. It comes at you straight and hard, with no attempt to hide its desire, its fears, its depravity. There's something about Miller's writing that makes you team up with the two totally depraved writers because we're all like that inside somewhere and as the two are, we too know that its okay to be that way because we also have a nice side too.
The narrator, who is a better writer than his friend Carl, seems to have been blessed with more sensitive tastes than his roommate. Carl on the other hand is more prudent with his money and always has some secret reserve hidden somewhere for their rainy days. But where Carl is completely debauched and insensitive (almost) about his women, frequently asking the narrator to join in, or take a shot at his girl friends, the narrator appears more romantic and straight laced, relatively. The romantic encounter with the prostitute NYC at Clichy, the hunger and the seeking of bread from the garbage, the underaged girl that Carl brings home, the many crazy women who come home with their wants and desires, Elaine and it all finally ends with a grand orgy with the Swiss woman Christine and the acrobat Corrine.

Miller writes powerfully and his characters stand up fully fleshed out almost effortlessly. You see them in glorious nudity, with nothing to hide, being human. The two writers love being alive, enjoy the good life, feel sad and sensitive when their hearts tell them to, do not think twice about cheating or taking the low road once in a while, and are constantly bubbling with energy and fun and lust. But its about the craziest book I have ever read in my life. And those two writers, I will never forget them and their antics. Miller's best books though - The Tropic of Cancer, The Tropic of Capricorn, Black Spring are on my to-read list.

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