Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finished the first volume of 'The Demon Princes' from the library, then quickly ordered the entire thing in one volume. Can't put words to how enjoyable the experience of reading Vance is, and the word that repeatedly comes to mind is 'droll.' His humor and narrative style are, uncannily, somehow tuned to my particular frequency so that each page resonates with great vivacity in my mind. So far my favorite character in the Demon Princes is the mad poet Navarth, and it is clear that Vance had fun writing him. As a character study he is fascinating; at first he appears to be an irascible curmudgeon, but soon we discover him to be voluble and somewhat gauche (e.g.: 'Navarth attempted to lay his finger slyly alongside his nose, but miscalculating, prodded his eye.') At unexpected moments I find myself exploding into roaring fits of laughter over the most trivial detail, and I can imagine that my neighbors are often startled and alarmed. But it is such a pleasure to read this Jack Vance. May his dotage be dampened and comfortable.


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