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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Phosphor in Dreamland (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) Paperback – October 1, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although Ducornet's Tetralogy of Elements ended in 1993 with the NBCC nominee The Jade Cabinet, her wondrous new novel might represent the most unpredictable property of all: light. In letters to a friend, the lonely narrator describes the fantastical history of his native Birdland. In the mid-17th century, a clubfooted, cross-eyed baby was abandoned on the doorstep of the island's unsavory and unique prelate, Fogginus. Nicknamed Phosphor for his fancied luminosity, the child spends much of his youth locked away in his guardian's sea trunk, where he re-discovers the camera obscura, gradually embellishing its images with a third dimension and permanence. Together with Fogginus and his patron, Fango Fantasma, a particularly noxious local grandee, Phosphor sets out to document Birdland both in images (through which Fantasma believes he will possess the island) and in an epic poem about his homeland. Phosphor in Dreamland is filled with wry references to Swift (a scholarly double biography titled A Swift and Phosphorous Eye is alluded to), and like that satirist's, Ducornet's humor is sly and sharp. Unlike Swift, though, she also conveys a tender melancholy: for the last of the aboriginal loplops, a giant bird tended by an arboreal barber, and for Birdland's past, which is preserved only by Phosphor's invention. "Thanks to this wonderful machine, a city that exists no more, a world still even to sublimity, is contained as if by magic on flat pieces of glass."
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In Ducornet's (The Jade Cabinet, LJ 2/1/93) fifth novel, Australia meets Birdland (an imaginary Caribbean island), the 20th century intersects with the 17th, and magical realism confronts a lit-crit parody of famed satirist Jonathan Swift. This engaging novel, although extremely well written, lacks the tension and plot-driven engine that will keep you awake all night. But for those interested in a more playful pace, it details the invention of the ocularscope (an early forerunner of the camera) and the brutal slaying of the last loplop on earth, a bird that begged for mercy in an almost human-sounding voice. While moving from brilliant fantasy to brilliant fantasy?my favorite is the arboreal barbershop?this novel's prose comes alive with images. Judging from her skill with language displayed here, it's obvious that Ducornet is also a poet. The characters?Se?or Fantasma; his strongman, Yahoo Clay; the professor, Tardanza; the boy-child, Pulco; the poet, Phosphor; and his bride, Extravaganza?represent archetypes. "If Fantasma was cursed with anxiety, Yahoo Clay was damned with rage." This is an adventure tale?the exploration of Birdland?and also a love story: Phosphor and Extravaganza, newly married, share their dreams each morning upon awakening. Indeed, the whole book is an inquiry into the nature of dreaming. And, as Professor Tardanza wisely acknowledges, "Dreams are the key to the human soul." Recommended for larger fiction collections.?Doris Lynch, Bloomington P.L., Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Literature (Dalkey Archive)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; 1st edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564780848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564780843
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This novel by Rikki Ducornet's is a wonderful play of plenty of literary techniques and relevant themes that are present in her first novels in an embrionic form. Phosphor in Dreamland is the narration of an allegorical voyage from civilization to the natural world in which Ducornet is capable to introduce such important topics as the search for a poetic language to understand the universe, the need to embrace love and sensuality to fulfill the human being's destiny, the necessary overcoming of the past to reach a better future, etc. Phosphor in Dreamland is a marvelous parable about how to recover the communication between man/woman and nature.
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Format: Paperback
As much as I wanted to marinate in the florid, psychedelic creative stew Ducornet simmers here, as much as I wanted to follow her into absurdity, into the intensely passionate world of oddball 18th-century Birdland island clubfoot philosopher/inventor/poet "Phosphor", I just couldn't take the relentless depravity strewn throughout this short novel.

Amazon won't permit me to provide specific examples, but mindless slaughter, sadistic stupidity, repeated child sexual abuse, bestiality, genitalia references galore both metaphoric and actual, excessive scatalogical content, and so on... the weight of all of this pulled me away from the unique exploration of dreams versus reality, of language versus experience, of modern versus historical, of theory versus practice.

A fascinating book but one I needed to take a shower after!
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Format: Paperback
Recently, it has come to my attention that many speculative fiction readers are unaware of the marvelous prose stylings of Rikki Ducornet. I know I've mentioned this fabulous author a couple times on my blog, and while out and about. I know her work is beginning to appear in anthologies edited by "genre" editors, like Jeff VanderMeer's CheekyFrawg eBook Imprint. But, for many in genre circles, she's an unknown.

How unfortunate for us.

Phosphor in Dreamland is a book about an artist and inventor. It is also a book about the human relationship to the world of the sublime. It is also a book about the extinction of the native people and cultures facing the brunt of colonialist arrogance. It is also a book about beautiful imagery, and grotesque characters behaving badly and strangely.

There's a bird in this book. This should come as no surprise on the island of Birdland where this book is set. However, what makes this island a "Birdland" is that there is a native bird, reminiscent of the dodo, but one famous for how human it seems when it is begging for its life. This peaceful bird rummages for shellfish and lives in harmony with its native surroundings. Humans have, even before the arrival of colonial expansion, killed the bird for its beak alone. The hunted creature begs and begs, and all for nothing. The colonial settlers does not help the extinct bird. The last of the Auk is killed in this book, and it is a harrowing thing to read.

I mention grotesque.
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By A Customer on April 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the most intriguing novel I have ever read. I was mesmerized for days. I hope to read additional works written by Rikki Ducornett. My highest recommendation to ALL FOLKS!
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Format: Paperback
Rikki Ducornet's books should be required reading for all those who are enthralled by beautifully intelligent writing. She's one of our best contemporaries; she's a genius. Check her out.
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