By Allen Kurzweil
In France, at the eve of the Revolution, a tender guy named Claude web page units out to turn into the main inventive and bold inventor of his time. during a occupation jam-packed with violence and keenness, Claude learns the humanities of enameling and watchmaking from an irascible, defrocked abbé, apprentices himself to a pornographic bookseller, and applies his erotic erudition to the seduction of the spouse of an impotent wigmaker. however it is Claude's maximum device-a speaking mechanical head-that either crowns his profession and results in an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and much extra bizarre.
Hailed through critics for the shimmering brilliance of its innovations and its uncanny constancy to the textures of the previous, A Case of Curiosities areas Allen Kurzweil securely within the ranks of the best literary artists of our time.
The resourceful tale spun right here through first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of wierd and fascinating evidence, and a wealthy, lusty photo of overdue 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges nation lad Claude Page's ability for drawing. below his mentor's tutelege, Claude discovers capacities for medical inquiry, watchmaking and portray erotic scenes in miniature. yet his genius is denied expression whilst he swiftly runs away to Paris and apprentices to a loathsome bookseller and broker in pornography. The occasions that result in the blossoming of Claude's abilities are comparable by way of Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively by way of irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are smartly interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical proof, too; we study, for instance, that kurzweil ability "pastime" in German. the writer is such a lot profitable, even if, in making a gallery of memorable, Dickensian characters. The bawdy population of Paris's fetid slums are depicted with affection, not like the hypocritical, pretentious individuals of the higher category, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. although Claude's so much excellent invention, the "Talking Turk," falls sufferer to that cataclysm, he leaves to posterity a "case of curiosities": a development referred to as a momentum hominum , "the chronicle of a existence. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does an analogous. BOMC and QPB decisions; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed company info, Inc.
From Library Journal
The narrator buys a field of randomly assembled gadgets at a Paris public sale. it's a existence field, the souvenir hominem of Claude web page, a very talented 18th-century French clockmaker with a keenness for the mechanical and an exceptional zest for all times. As a tender guy, he's taken in through a God-hating abbe who employs him to color naughty scenes, with relocating components, at the faces of watches and clocks. "The tree of information is there for us to climb," counsels his mentor. "Climb it. forget about the fences. Swing from department to department . . . . You, Claude, are a discoverer." In Paris, later, Claude struggles to build a superb speaking automaton, with which he hopes to earn his fortune. yet fortune has a distinct plan for Claude. The eccentrics and bohemians who contact Claude's lifestyles are all and sundry grotesques of compelling curiosity and comedian strength. Kurzweil tells a true tale; it's humorous, human, and intriguing unexpectedly. hugely advised for normal collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback choices; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of know-how, Utica
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Additional info for A Case of Curiosities
With the situation collapsing all around him, Chasteler began to retreat, leaving the Tyrolians to their fate. The Bavarians were too much to overcome and Innsbruck fell on 19 May. The Tyrol seemed pacified. The Battle of Linz As Napoleon advanced up the Danube, he left key crossing points guarded by corps-strength commands. At Linz the 31 Wurttemberg Corps, under General Vandamme, was given just such a task. Vandamme was able to cross the Danube and create a tête du pont (a fortified bridgehead).
Exploiting his advantage, Eugene advanced rapidly and pushed John's army out of Italy and towards Hungary. In a series of small actions, one after another of John's rearguards were overwhelmed, so that by 20 May, Eugene had reached Klagenfurt and was in a position to either join Napoleon or continue the pursuit of John. While Eugene was following up the remnants of John's army, Marshal Lefebvre had reassembled his Bavarian Corps and set out to retake the Tyrol. With fire and sword the road to Innsbruck was cleared in a number of small actions.
All was going well for Napoleon. Instead of finding the main Austrian army in positions around Aspern-Essling, all he faced was the outpost divisions of Nordmann and Klenau. The main Habsburg army was positioned five miles away, centered on the village of Wagram. The few battered troops to deal with the French onslaught were driven back and by noon all enemies opposite Lobau were gone. By this time, Bernadotte's Saxon Corps had joined the other three and they began an advance over the Marchfeld towards the main Austrian The position, with more French and Allied troops entering the plain from the Lobau bridges.