Valente, Catherynne M. -- The Habitation of the Blessed

Have not yet read.


Layers of story set in the land of Aristotelian foreignity -- the place with faces-in-their-bellies people and people with giant ears and people with giant hands and monopods and so on. Also, of course, the Fountain of Youth and Prester John. A monk travels there and finds three accounts of those days growing on a tree of (possibly lowercase) knowledge; he starts copying them down before they rot. Does any of this not sound like a Valente book?

What's in this book is a lot of colliding between "our" Western culture and Utopia, aka "did these virtuous pagans of legend really need a Christian emperor?" I feel vaguely disconnected from the argument. I mean, I'm as much an American white guy as the next American white guy, but why-should-I-care-about-your-Jesus is not an interesting argument no matter which side wins. The prose is lovely, though.


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