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Jerusalem Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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“Brilliant…monumentally ambitious…Moore keeps lobbing treats to urge his readers onward: luscious turns of phrase, unexpected callbacks and internal links, philosophical digressions, Dad jokes, fantastical inventions…Passionate…Behind all the formalism and eccentric virtuosity, there’s personal history from a writer who has rarely put himself into his own fiction before.” (Douglas Wolk - New York Times Book Review)
“A hymn to Northampton, a commemoration of the lost people and places of his childhood. . . . Epic in scope. . . . The novel has the immersive imaginative power of fable; it also deepens Moore’s career-long investigation into the kind of collapsed rationality that borders on genius and might, very easily, be misdiagnosed as madness.” (Nat Segnit - The New Yorker)
“Jerusalem is Moore’s apotheosis, a fourth-dimensional symphony of his own beloved city. . . .A love song for a vanished neighborhood, and a battle cry for an embattled class left behind by centuries of powermongers and tyrants and corporations and New Labour. . . .Jerusalem soars high on the wings of the author’s psychedelic imagination. His bighearted passion for his people, his city, and the whole monstrous endeavor of the human condition is infectious. I’m not sure there’s a God, but I thank Her for Alan Moore.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Epic in scope and phantasmagoric to its briny core. . . .The prose sparkles at every turn. . . . It’s a difficult book in all the right ways in that it brilliantly challenges us to confront what we think and know about the very fabric of existence. . . . A massive literary achievement for our time―and maybe for all times simultaneously.” (Andrew Ervin - Washington Post)
“Unquestionably Jerusalem is Moore’s most ambitious statement yet ― his War and Peace, his Ulysses. The prose scintillates throughout, a traffic jam of hooting dialect and vernacular trundling nose-to-tail with pantechnicons of pop culture allusion. Exploring a single town’s psychogeography with a passionate forensic intensity, Moore makes the parochial universal, the mundane sublime and the temporal never-ending.” (James Lovegrove - Financial Times)
“A magnificent, sprawling cosmic epic.
“Moore, you genius. . . .A testament to Moore’s skill at genre juggling, at cultivating a sense of awe at the universe’s frightening expanse and its beautiful mysteries.” (Zak Salih - The Millions)
“Rewarding―a novel that refuses to fit neatly into any classification other than the unclassifiable.” (Ron Hogan - Dallas Morning News)
“Moore’s prose is rich and complicated. . . .Once you slip into the rhythm of it, it is also poetic, insightful, and beautiful. . . .There are insights, revelations, and joys that would come from successive readings. It is possible that scholars will be picking this apart for years to come.” (Wayne Wise - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Staggeringly imaginative…bold readers who answer the call will be rewarded with unmatched writing that soars, chills, wallows, and ultimately describes a new cosmology. Challenges and all, Jerusalem ensures Moore’s place as one of the great masters of the English language.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Mind-meld James Michener, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King and you'll approach the territory the endlessly inventive Moore stakes out in his most magnum of magna opera. . . . Many storylines dance through Moore's pages as he walks through those humid streets, ranging among voices and moods, turning here to Joycean stream-of-consciousness and there to Eliot-ian poetry ("Their gait resembling the Lambeth Walk/While in the upper corners of the room/Are gruff, gesticulating little men"), but in the end forging a style unlike any other. Magisterial: an epic that outdoes Danielewski, Vollmann, Stephenson, and other worldbuilders in vision and depth.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“For his latest work, Moore turns in a sprawling, million-word saga blending fantasy and historical fiction set roughly in the Northampton, England, neighborhood in which he grew up. . . . [Moore’s] fans will doubtless find much here to ponder and delight in.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[Jerusalem] is a story about everything: life, death, the afterlife, free will, famous Northamptonians (John Clare, Oliver Cromwell, Philip Doddridge) rubbing elbows with prostitutes and drug addicts over time and space. It is about how, no matter what happens in life, we all go to the same place when we die; how everything, literally everything, is determined by four angels playing a game of snooker. It is confusing, hilarious, sad, mind-blowing, poignant, frustrating, and one of the most beautiful books ever written. More of a work of art than a novel, this book simply needs to be read.” (Library Journal (starred review))
About the Author
Alan Moore is a magician and performer, and is widely regarded as the best and most influential writer in the history of comics. His seminal works include From Hell, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen, for which he won the Hugo Award. He was born in 1953 in Northampton, UK, and has lived there ever since.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a life's work.
JERUSALEM’s primary focus is a particular slum in a section of Northampton, UK. The novel utilizes this setting to capture all times and points in its history with an ever-changing cast. Each chapter presents a different point in time through a different main character, with each segment focusing on only one day in the life of that character. It is in this way that we, in turn, are given an intimate look into this small town during very different periods of times. A moment of cultural shift or drastic ideological difference from chapter to chapter is subtly remarked from varied perspectives. Perhaps regarding the subject of madness, we would be presented with a later member of a bloodline remarking on the madness of those who came before, only to witness the descent into madness by the member of the family who was previously remarked upon. In this way, we are given a narrative of hopelessness followed by the events that preceded the loss of hope.
My favorite chapter --- and one that stands out in particular due to its timely subject matter --- is about an older man named Henry who takes a day trip a few towns over in an attempt to find the church where “Amazing Grace” was written. When he arrives, however, he is met with difficult revelations, pains and, ultimately, vindication --- all in a day’s walk. JERUSALEM is very much like a James Joyce work in this regard but differs in its hypnotic density and careful attention to detail, which serves to make it capable of reaching further depths.
Of course, it needs to be said that the book requires a great deal of patience from its readers. Not only is JERUSALEM 1,300 pages, it is also extremely dense. The word count of a single page is roughly the equivalent of three standard formatted pages of an average novel. This lends to the book’s ability to entrance, but only once you are thoroughly caught in Moore’s rhythm. This feat becomes exceedingly more manageable about 200 pages in, once the shifting writing styles become something expected and easy to prepare for and predict.
Alan Moore is a man who challenges himself time and again to a grander vision with each new project, and this one is a marvel. JERUSALEM creates a grand scheme and an ambitiously achieved scope unlike any work in years, maybe even in generations. I cannot honestly say much on that except that it reaches across time and space in such a simply presented way: a little bit at a time. The size and breadth of this work is worth more than the 10 years put into it and far more than even the amount of time an average person would put into reading it.
In order to give this book the praise it deserves, I fear my review would have to mimic the length of Moore's novel, but to spare you the time --- and allow you to go ahead and start reading --- I'll keep it short and sweet: JERUSALEM is an accomplishment on all fronts and not to be missed.
Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge
Just as some turns in a trail lead to a grand vista that urges the hiker to forgo forward progress and just sit to enjoy the view awhile, so this book provides the occasional grand vista to pause and reread. There are also plenty of smaller jolts of joy along the way that lead to a small and satisfied smile. Sometimes the hiker misreads the trail due to confusing landmarks and has to backtrack and recover the trail, so also this book has some confusing areas that have to be reread in order to regain the trail. This too is part of the journey.
The review of this book in the New York Times is excellent. For those pondering this trailhead, I recommend reading that review--I leave the particulars to that review as it was well done and I have nothing to add.
Just as a hike up a mountain isn't for a lot of people, so also this book isn't for a lot of people. It is for those who want to fully experience the journey. It is for those who want to stand at the earned summit and marvel at the world stretching away in all directions.