Review of The Other City by Michal Ajvaz
A harmless and creative work, quirky and European in flavor, but lacking the depth of the shameless blurbs hailing Ajvaz as the Czech Kafka
Wait, never mind. This is a dream book, a better than average Surrealist romp. Relatively flat, but well-animated, colorful, goofy, surprising, and atmospheric. Superimposition plays a big part, and the inversion of scale. The interpolation of a microcosm occasionally comes into play. Lustrous and splendid and eldritch, the prose is reminiscent of Ducornet or Angela Carter, without the burden of being about anything. The author performs with abundance and imagination, yet with a directionless approach, such that an inept travelogue comes to predominate the set-pieces. Still, providing about as much entertainment as Calvino’s Invisible Cities with more phosphorescent dream-carnival vibes. A fluctuating, fructose, allegorical, chimerical digression of a book. An unpruned indulgence and an overripe fruit upon Dalkey’s bounteous boughs.
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