A Devil in Paradise by Henry Miller

By Henry Miller

“A excellent expression of Miller’s ethical viewpoint in addition to certainly one of his remarkable demonstrations of narrative ability. It presents a superb cinematic view of 2 indomitable egotists in lethal conflict.” ―The Nation

The satan in Henry Miller’s vast Sur paradise is Conrad Moricand: “A good friend of his Paris days, who, having been financed and taken over from Europe as an act of mercy via Mr. Miller, seems as exacting, sponging, evil, crafty and ungrateful a visitor as are available in modern literature. Mr. Miller has regularly been a amazing writer of personality. Conrad Moricand is perhaps his masterpiece. . . .A satan in Paradise is the paintings of an exceptional novelist manqué, a novelist who has no stricter feel of shape than the divine writer. . . .Fresh and intoxicating, humorous and relocating. . .” ―The occasions Literary Supplement (London)

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He wrote back immediately, telling me that he was overjoyed, calling me a saint and a savior, et cetera, et cetera. The next few months were consumed in raising the necessary funds. I borrowed whatever I could, diverted what few francs I had to his account, borrowed in advance on my royalties, and finally made definite arrangements for him to fly from Switzerland to England, there take the Queen Mary or Elizabeth, whichever it was, to New York, and fly from New York to San Francisco, where I would pick him up.

He had even taken the precaution to look up a watch-maker in San Francisco, a reliable one, to whom I was to entrust the clock should anything go wrong with it. I tried to express my appreciation of the marvelous gift he had made me, but somehow, deep inside, I was against the bloody clock. There was not a single possession of ours which was precious to me. Now I was saddled with an object which demanded care and attention. ” I said to myself. Aloud I suggested that he watch over it, regulate it, wind it, oil it, and so on.

Without effort on my part they ranged themselves in order of magnitude, influence, duration, proximity, spiritual weight and density, and so on. As they took their stations I myself seemed to be moving through the ether with the sweep and rhythm of an absent-minded angel, yet falling in with each in turn at exactly the right zodiacal point and at precisely the destined moment, good or bad, to tune in. What a medley of apparitions they presented! Some were shrouded in fog, some sharp as sentinels, some rigid as phantom ice-bergs, some wilted like autumn flowers, some racing toward death, some rolling along like drunks on rubber wheels, some pushing laboriously through endless mazes, some skating over the heads of their comrades as if muffled in luminol, some lifting crushing weights, some glued to the books in which they burrowed, some trying to fly though anchored with ball and chain, but all of them vivid, named, classified, identified according to need, depth, insight, flavor, aura, fragrance and pulse beat.

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