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Mawrdew Czgowchwz (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – February 1, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Wayne Koestenbaum is an American poet and cultural critic. He received a BA from Harvard University, an MA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from Princeton University. He lives in New York City, where he is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Graduate Center. His books include "Humiliation" and "My 1980s and Other Essays".
Top Customer Reviews
A sample of the prose is the best introduction.
"While His Scarlet Eminence and Msgr. Finneagle sat playing their esoteric version of Monopoly, the custom-crafted board for which could be seen to represent the several circles of Dante's Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, as well as the ground plan for the entire Vatican, both the above-ground palaces' apartments, closets, and chapels, and those labyrinthine catacomb reaches where Darkest Rumor is said on good authority to repose in thrilling reptile fashion. His Scarlet Eminence snickered in pixyish glee, having caught his opponent in the square of the seventh circle of hell (with four hotels). Monsignor trembled (livid), bankrupt of plenary indulgence."
Should you find this amusing and well-written, you'll love this book. If not, you'd best pass.
I have re-read it several times since then, most recently in the Kindle edition. Every time, it seems to have gotten better; maybe I've just grown to be able to appreciate it more, from the sly edges to the characterization, to evocations of a long lost New York City (before my time there), to a style you can take to the Firbank.
It still makes me laugh, and I still find new things to laugh about. Definitely one of the funniest books I've ever read! By the way, this is the only book that I've felt moved to write a review for on Amazon, but I really want to spread the word about the world's first and greatest oltrano, Mawrdew Czgowchwz.
McCourt's theme is the transcendent power of art. The problem I have with the book is McCourt makes you work too hard. His style and vocabulary get in the way of his message. Achieving transcendence in a spiritual sense takes discipline and stamina. But to be whisked away in the concert hall, all you have to do is listen.
Mawrdew Czgowchcz has engaging characters (with fabulous names) a terrific plot, wicked satire and many fun incidents all of which you will enjoy, if you can pry them out McCourt's thickly gilded sentences. Yes, it is very much like Firbank, but Firbank, for his baroque obtuseness, is still swift and immediate on the page.
I wanted to be engulfed and swept away by Mawrdew, instead I just bobbed along the surface, admiring but not fully appreciating. A little less gorgeousness would serve Mawrdew Czgowchcz much better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book got a glowingly positive write-up in Opera News Magazine. I didn't get it. I read about 1/3 of the book and gave up. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kay