Book Review: RENEGADE Henry Miller and the making of Tropic of Cancer by Frederick Turner

abril 14, 2012 § Deixe um comentário

First heard about this book on Inside The New York Times Book Review podcast and ordered immediately a copy.
My first impression while reading it was that The Making of Tropic of Cancer is a deceiving title, because it is, at heart, a short biography from Henry Miller.

In the book, Frederick Turner insists that Miller remained profoundly American and a symbol of america’s culture, despite his hatred for the American culture, on the chapter named Slaughterhouse the author takes us on a journey to the past from the discovering of the continent itself, to the shaping of American identity, next, Twain gets its own chapter as a synthesis of the American writer, one “that defiantly spoke the American lingo” that would live trough Whitman and Henry Miller.

The reason why I say the title is misleading is because the book doesn’t concentrates on the internal structure from Tropic of Cancer, but on the external context and even provides information on many other Miller’s books, including full chapters on the early manuscripts. In that sense James Decker’s book (Henry Miller and Narrative Form) explores much deeper the “making”, internal meaning and style from Miller’s classic and and remains unrivalled on content analysis.

Turner prose tough is very vivid and, had it more meat, it could be a full blow biography or become a movie on Henry Miller had Philip Kaufman not made already a perfect picture on the same story… well, a movie can still be made on the poor Brooklyn boy who dreams to become a writer but fails miserably until a miracle works at his forties. To that point, if you’re familiar with The Rosy Crucifixion Turner’s book works as an resumée from Miller’s trilogy without the digressions and calling the character’s real names. One bold move is to openly saying that June did slept with men for money, or did “whoring”, something Miller himself never points directly.

The chapter named “1934” offers a very interesting view of the literature scene on the year o publication of Tropic of Cancer and it’s followed by a theme review from Cancer. The Final chapter deals with the return to America, unfortunately there’s not a single mention to Sexus Plexus or Nexus, my personal favourite books.

On fewer words, Turner wrote a very pleasant book on Henry Miller life that I would recommend to anyone, the chapter structures are well divided and kept me always wanting to read the next one. I imagine it can be a good read even if  you don’t know Henry’s books – it’s a tale of pursuit of a dream with an ultimate and unexpected success at it.Image


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