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Tropic of Cancer

(Book #1 in the Tropic Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer chronicles the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s with unapologetic gusto, and is now... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A live saver for troubled adolscents (a least this one...) spiritual liberation started with Henry Miller and _Tropic of Cancer_. I always credit him with "saving my life" and don't think this an exaggeration. As a troubled, near suicidal 15 year old, I saw _Tropic of Cancer_ on the bookshelf of my next door neighbor's - whose dog I was walking while they were away - and dove in hoping to find what reports of the obscenity trial in the New York Times would lead me to find - I was 15 and anxious for "obscenity". No doubt, I found obscenity, but mostly I found courage! gobs of it - and joy - the courage to be who I was and just go for it - everything and everyone else be damned! For the next decade or so, not two weeks would go buy when I wasn't reading Miller: the Topics, Black Spring, Sexus/Nexus/Plexus, The Colossus of Maroussi, Big Sur, and on and on, re-reading - but although they all recharged the joy (not to mention my vocabulary, he read the dictionary as a youth and remembered everything), nothing matched the impact of _Tropic of Cancer_. Yes - Miller's pretentious, narcissistic and misogynistic, but he's also filled with a contagious spirit. His later works - particularly _Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch_ are more focused on true spirituality. By his late 50's he finally got the sexual obsession and misogyny under control, the earlier works are too focused on lust. Great stuff for a 15 year old boy though! - wonderful and graphic sex scenes are interspersed with lyricism, erudition and the great joy of being alive matter what... I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any 15 year old or 50 year old...

Reflection on Tropic of Cancer

-Synopsis: Tropic of Cancer unabashedly depicts Millers' escapades as a down-and-out writer in Paris during the early 1930s, "bumming around" Montparnesse with a colorful, earthy, and rebellious group of expatriates and artists.Review: Miller is nourished by decay. He observes how the higher activities - love, sex, creation, fidelity, art - have lost their divinity, dignity, poetry. Sex seems to him dry and painful; work is absurd; death is meaningless, and literature is dead. The only sort of goodness we are now capable of is to blow ourselves to bits. But somehow Miller, despite his rage and pollution, seems innocent. His book seems a lament. His potency is founded in showing the cruelty and filth, but these would have no affect on him or us unless we also feel its opposites - kindness and purity. Whenever he records the ugliness of his surroundings, he has discharged them and their effects from his soul, as in a sort of exorcism. And this is why he appears an innocent soul. Because innocent souls have an unreasoned but keen taste for suffering, and nothing seduces them so easily as does the view of a martyr. In this instance, nature is the martyr; all of her processes polluted and corrupted by humans.Miller's language is incisive, clear, potent, fresh...and new, a new sort of language, a language of the underworld translated into English. His fast-paced, absurdly wild and filthy existence is beautifully documented; there is something in the surrounding which reminds one of the film Casablanca, perhaps the charm of desperation. He is prone to philosophies, and some readers will prefer the adventure to the contemplation. Also, his treatment of women is acutely unorthodox but should be further examined before being criticized.Quotation: `I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am...' (from the first page)-

It's life and life only...A breathtaking work.

I know of no other writer who makes words truly live like Henry Miller does. "Cancer" is his best (although the neglected "Colossus of Maroussi" runs a close second), full of enthusiasm, rampant lust-driven adventures, a man living though it rain crocodiles, a visionary portrait of a person determined to live in this cracked and dying earth that will drag you down and suffocate you if you let it. Living has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to do with prestige, nothing to do with a career, with laws or codes or good sense. It has everything to do with sex, with art and inspiration, with creativity and the fire at our heels, the hunger that gnaws us from the inside out. My friends and I had a joke: "What happened in the bidet?" "Read the book!" Unfortunately I think they only knew because I told them. I carried this book around, and his others, for months, enraptured, exhuasted, tormented, joyous, breathless, during a very bleak period of my life. He kept my imagination alive. The first time I tried to read it, just after the 1990 film "Henry & June" I didn't get it. About a year or so later I tried again, and ate it up. It was like I had a tropic of cancer-sized hole in my head and I'd finally found the missing piece. No other book, except maybe "Naked Lunch," has made me realize that literature IS life, that my heart could be enlarged by one, that reading and writing weren't just hobbies or exercises--they were raw and painful necessities, as vital as breath, as flesh, as rousing and invigorating as sex at 3am that lasts til dawn. I love all kinds of writers, but I have to admit, I'm kind of a snob. To me, the real writer is one like Henry Miller, like Rimbaud, like Poe, the ones who live at the fringes of madness, who in poverty and tatters show us that it's life, and life only.

An outstanding book slighted for years

Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" is easily one of the best books written by any American author in this century. Written with a refreshing honesty and a realistic outlook, "Tropic of Cancer" is a fine example of the autobiographical-novel form (so autobiographical that Miller says its not really a book at all and that he is referred to as Henry Miller in the book). It is sad to realize that this book was banned from 1934, when it was published, to 1961, when it finally got published in America (although the legal battles did not end unitl 1963). For nearly thirty years Americans were denied this fabulous book, and it makes me wonder why this was allowed to happen. But perhaps all the hoopla got more people interested in the book and therefore helped the exposure of it. What more is there to say? "Tropic of Cancer" is an outstanding work and I personally will be reading more of Miller's books very soon.

Tropic of Cancer Mentions in Our Blog

Tropic of Cancer in Half of Americans Think They've Got a Good Idea for a Novel
Half of Americans Think They've Got a Good Idea for a Novel
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 02, 2021

In celebration of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), ThriftBooks enlisted OnePoll to survey 2,000 Americans about their novel-writing (and reading!) tendencies and we uncovered a pretty interesting story. Here are a handful of our key plot points.

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