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Cheops: A Cupboard for the Sun Paperback – November 17, 2002

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

West (A Fifth of November) examines the legacy of the Egyptian leader who built the great pyramids in his latest historical novel, a vividly imagined but flawed book that begins with the once-powerful Cheops fighting a series of grave illnesses. Decadent palace intrigue ensues as various relatives and factions try to capitalize on his impending death. The proceedings are wryly narrated by Osiris, the god of the underworld, who provides observations and commentary on the imminent downfall of the great leader. West also offers some other perspectives on the action, including that of Cheops's mother-in-law, Merytyetes, and his poetically inclined daughter, Princess Heduanna. Cheops's troubles come to a head when his late wife's body is stolen from her tomb, and the abduction is followed by two murders. The first involves a key palace figure, while the second strikes down Cheops's son, Ka-Wab. The novel turns hallucinatory and downright bizarre in the final section, as West imagines a link between the music of 19th-century English composer Frederic Delius and the burial plans of Cheops. The historical detail is impeccable, and Osiris proves to be a capable guide through Cheops's final days, despite some ponderous prose and a few decidedly modern interpretations of the leader's dilemma. But while West deserves credit for his formidable imagination, the final section of the novel is so erratic that it overshadows and dilutes the power of the earlier material.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The rest of us will despair of ever being able to write prose so immaculate as that of Paul West. -- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing (November 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218191
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,534,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Bibliophile on March 10, 2015
Format: Paperback
I found this fascinating, both in subject matter and style. Yes, it's written in a stream of consciousness way, but so are most of the works by Beckett, Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Marquez, and so many other literary luminaries.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read Mr. West's qualifications and indeed, he is a very qualified and very literate author. However, this is a bizarrely awful book. Maybe something happens in it and maybe there's a plot somewhere, but I couldn't find it. It reminded me of one of those stream of consciousness books (a style I detest)crossed with some strange form of science fiction. It just didn't make any sense. I couldn't finish it-just read about 50 pages in the beginning & skimmed a few in the middle and at the end. This was a library copy, so I had no fiscal outlay and am very glad of that. I gave it two stars because of Mr West's knowledge of the period and obvious literacy (otherwise, a negative if there was one), but don't waste your time.
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