Back to Aegypt.
I’ve been reading in John Crowley’s Aegypt cycle for years now. Like Little, Big, Aegypt moves at its own pace through its own imaginary land, and I don’t feel rushed to finish it; it’s been nice to revisit Pierce Moffett, John Dee, Giordano Bruno, and the rest of the cast when they call out to me, or I to them. I don’t normally read this way. But I don’t mind.
I’m just now about to finish the second volume, Love and Sleep. The first volume was extraordinary — a Pynchon-level achievement, like Little, Big — but I’ve just read Crowley’s vivid, hallucinatory rendering of Dee and Kelley’s alchemical creation of gold, which also functions as a six- or eight-level-deep allegory for various arcs of the narrative, and I’m quite comfortable saying Love and Sleep is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.
When Pynchon dies, will Crowley be the best we have? I should say: if Pynchon dies, or the committee of scholars who write his impossibly multifaceted novels disbands.
Can’t tell you how nice it is to have a whole universe to look forward to.