Post by rberman on Feb 6, 2020 14:45:00 GMT -5
Alan Moore wrote a novel! 1200 pages, probably comparable to his Watchmen script in length. I will post observations from each section of the book, so spoilers ahoy!
Prelude- Siblings Alma and Michael Warren are two sides of the same coin. A former pudgy child, as a fifty-something woman Alma is tall, lanky, with a cigarette contralto and long, straight hair framing her face. She is a hashish-using artist who bases her work on her dreams, and her art affects reality. Basically, Alan Moore. Al Mo. Alma. Her interactions with annoying fans mirror those of Moore. Her iris has an inner ring of gold, like the corona of an eclipse.
Michael is a day laborer and family man. He is handsome, even effete, a womanish man to match Alma’s mannish woman. He died temporarily as a child. Late in life, a blow to the head restores the memory of his experience of death. He and Alma call each other “Warry” (Warren, but also wary and warlike), emphasizing their unity.
Alma and Michael’s paternal grandmother was surnamed Vernall originally. “Of the Spring.” Suggests equinox, Faerie.
Madness is described as becoming “cornery,” i.e., turning the corner into Faerie. Likewise “angles,” which is also a pun on “angels,” connecting the seen and unseen worlds. Alma and Michael have a cornery heritage and prefer to sit in the corners of rooms. What we call madness is just seeing the bigger picture for what it is. Synchronicity: Coincidence is just a pattern beyond our limited frame of reference. We are not privy to the higher plane that makes sense of it.
Northampton, Moore’s hometown, is a major character, like Dublin in Joyce’s Ulysses. Much attention to transitions in the uses of various urban eras over the centuries. All the streets and buildings are lovingly described. The focus is an area called The Burroughs, which recalls the home of a rabbit (a burrow, a Warren), connecting Watership Down to Edgar Rice Burroughs. Gaiman’s Neverwhere also. One Faerie character is named The Third Burrough. A personification of an era of the city?
Doors and stairs now lead to nowhere that still exists in our world. A teen reports having been trapped in a long-gone pub. Moore suggests the ghosts which haunted the shops of his youth have been rendered homeless by urban renewal projects. Moore is uniformly appalled by urban change just as Tolkien was by rural change. Streets lined with 1940s featureless row houses = good. High rise 1960s versions of the same = bad. His attitude is essentially nostalgic. The good hearted urban folk of yesteryear are compared to centaurs, Pegasus, Sphinx. Creatures lost in myth.
The book title “Jerusalem” recalls William Blake and his poem about transitions in English life. The cover art depicts the Burroughs as a person. The sole encomium on the dust jacket comes from a schoolchild who declares Moore “the best author in human history.” Moore is mocking the use of celebrity praise as a selling point, though he himself has written encomia.
Genre namedropping: the comic book store which sold 1960s American imports like My Greatest Adventure, Journey into Mystery, and Forbidden Worlds, as well as the book Village of the Damned, the hive-mind story which Grant Morrison incorporated into New X-Men as the Stepford Cuckoos.
Alma has an activist friend Roman Thompson she calls Thompson the Leveller, referring to a populist movement of the 17th Century. The good guys have names out of the past.