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Fierce in its imagining and stupefying in its scope, Jerusalem is the tale of everything, told from a vanished gutter.
In the epic novel Jerusalem, Alan Moore channels both the ecstatic visions of William Blake and the theoretical physics of Albert Einstein through the hardscrabble streets and alleys of his hometown of Northampton, UK. In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England’s Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district’s narrative among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol-colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them.
Employing, a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles that ranges from brutal social realism to extravagant children’s fantasy, from the modern stage drama to the extremes of science fiction, Jerusalem’s dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor.
In these pages lurk demons from the second-century Book of Tobit and angels with golden blood who reduce fate to a snooker tournament. Vagrants, prostitutes, and ghosts rub shoulders with Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce’s tragic daughter Lucia, and Buffalo Bill, among many others. There is a conversation in the thunderstruck dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, childbirth on the cobblestones of Lambeth Walk, an estranged couple sitting all night on the cold steps of a Gothic church front, and an infant choking on a cough drop for eleven chapters. An art exhibition is in preparation, and above the world a naked old man and a beautiful dead baby race along the Attics of the Breath toward the heat death of the universe.
An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth, poverty, and our threadbare millennium. They discuss English as a visionary language from John Bunyan to James Joyce, hold forth on the illusion of mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon the meanest slum as Blake’s eternal holy city.
About the Author
Alan Moore is a magician and performer, and is widely regarded as the best and most influential writer in the history of comics. His seminal works include From Hell, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen, for which he won the Hugo Award. He was born in 1953 in Northampton, UK, and has lived there ever since.
Brilliant…monumentally ambitious…Moore keeps lobbing treats to urge his readers onward: luscious turns of phrase, unexpected callbacks and internal links, philosophical digressions, Dad jokes, fantastical inventions…Passionate…Behind all the formalism and eccentric virtuosity, there’s personal history from a writer who has rarely put himself into his own fiction before. — Douglas Wolk - New York Times Book Review
A hymn to Northampton, a commemoration of the lost people and places of his childhood. . . . Epic in scope. . . . The novel has the immersive imaginative power of fable; it also deepens Moore’s career-long investigation into the kind of collapsed rationality that borders on genius and might, very easily, be misdiagnosed as madness. — Nat Segnit - The New Yorker
Jerusalem is Moore’s apotheosis, a fourth-dimensional symphony of his own beloved city. . . .A love song for a vanished neighborhood, and a battle cry for an embattled class left behind by centuries of powermongers and tyrants and corporations and New Labour. . . .Jerusalem soars high on the wings of the author’s psychedelic imagination. His bighearted passion for his people, his city, and the whole monstrous endeavor of the human condition is infectious. I’m not sure there’s a God, but I thank Her for Alan Moore.
— Entertainment Weekly
Epic in scope and phantasmagoric to its briny core. . . .The prose sparkles at every turn. . . . It’s a difficult book in all the right ways in that it brilliantly challenges us to confront what we think and know about the very fabric of existence. . . . A massive literary achievement for our time—and maybe for all times simultaneously. — Andrew Ervin - Washington Post
Unquestionably Jerusalem is Moore’s most ambitious statement yet — his War and Peace, his Ulysses. The prose scintillates throughout, a traffic jam of hooting dialect and vernacular trundling nose-to-tail with pantechnicons of pop culture allusion. Exploring a single town’s psychogeography with a passionate forensic intensity, Moore makes the parochial universal, the mundane sublime and the temporal never-ending.
— James Lovegrove - Financial Times
A magnificent, sprawling cosmic epic.
Moore, you genius. . . .A testament to Moore’s skill at genre juggling, at cultivating a sense of awe at the universe’s frightening expanse and its beautiful mysteries. — Zak Salih - The Millions
Rewarding—a novel that refuses to fit neatly into any classification other than the unclassifiable. — Ron Hogan - Dallas Morning News
Moore’s prose is rich and complicated. . . .Once you slip into the rhythm of it, it is also poetic, insightful, and beautiful. . . .There are insights, revelations, and joys that would come from successive readings. It is possible that scholars will be picking this apart for years to come. — Wayne Wise - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Staggeringly imaginative…bold readers who answer the call will be rewarded with unmatched writing that soars, chills, wallows, and ultimately describes a new cosmology. Challenges and all, Jerusalem ensures Moore’s place as one of the great masters of the English language.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Mind-meld James Michener, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King and you'll approach the territory the endlessly inventive Moore stakes out in his most magnum of magna opera. . . . Many storylines dance through Moore's pages as he walks through those humid streets, ranging among voices and moods, turning here to Joycean stream-of-consciousness and there to Eliot-ian poetry ("Their gait resembling the Lambeth Walk/While in the upper corners of the room/Are gruff, gesticulating little men"), but in the end forging a style unlike any other. Magisterial: an epic that outdoes Danielewski, Vollmann, Stephenson, and other worldbuilders in vision and depth. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
For his latest work, Moore turns in a sprawling, million-word saga blending fantasy and historical fiction set roughly in the Northampton, England, neighborhood in which he grew up. . . . [Moore’s] fans will doubtless find much here to ponder and delight in. — Booklist (starred review)
[Jerusalem] is a story about everything: life, death, the afterlife, free will, famous Northamptonians (John Clare, Oliver Cromwell, Philip Doddridge) rubbing elbows with prostitutes and drug addicts over time and space. It is about how, no matter what happens in life, we all go to the same place when we die; how everything, literally everything, is determined by four angels playing a game of snooker. It is confusing, hilarious, sad, mind-blowing, poignant, frustrating, and one of the most beautiful books ever written. More of a work of art than a novel, this book simply needs to be read.