Tropic of Cancer (Obelisk Trilogy, Book 1)
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Miller's groundbreaking first novel, banned in Britain for almost thirty years. A penniless and as yet unpublished writer, Henry Miller arrived in Paris in 1930. Leaving behind a disintegrating marriage and an unhappy career in America, he threw himself into the low-life of bohemian Paris with unwavering gusto. A fictional account of Miller's adventures amongst the prostitutes and pimps, the penniless painters and writers of Montparnasse, Tropic of Cancer is an extravagant and rhapsodic hymn to a world of unrivalled eroticism and freedom. Tropic of Cancer's 1934 publication in France was hailed by Samuel Beckett as 'a momentous event in the history of modern writing'. The novel was subsequently banned in the UK and the USA and not released for publication for a further thirty years.
good for my arm.” The next day he borrows a phonograph from the concierge. “You will please teach me to dance, Endree. My stomach is too big.” I am hoping that he will buy a porterhouse steak some day so that I can say to him: “You will please bite it for me, Mister Nonentity. My teeth are not strong!” As I said a moment ago, ever since my arrival he has become extraordinarily meticulous. “Yesterday,” he says, “you made three mistakes, Endree. First, you forgot to close the toilet door and so
dream from which we never emerged, a dream which the least gesture, the wink of an eye even, will shatter. But more remarkable still is the remembrance that suddenly floats up of an actual dream which occurred only the other night, a dream in which I saw Van Norden in just such a corner as is occupied now by the handle bars, only instead of the handle bars there was a woman crouching with her legs drawn up. I see him standing over the woman with that alert, eager look in his eye which comes when
the sound of water running made it seem so. It was always a cold douche, the toilet. It was real. Before you got inside you had to pass a line of Frenchmen peeling off their clothes. Ugh! but they stank, those devils! And they were well paid for it, too. But there they were, stripped down, some in long underwear, some with beards, most of them pale, skinny rats with lead in their veins. Inside the toilet you could take an inventory of their idle thoughts. The walls were crowded with sketches and
you have such a gentle face … you are so good, etc.” I felt like a saint. When you feel all puffed up inside it isn’t so easy to go to bed right away. You feel as though you ought to atone for such unexpected bursts of goodness. Passing the “Jungle” I caught a glimpse of the dance floor; women with bare backs and ropes of pearls choking them—or so it looked—were wiggling their beautiful bottoms at me. Walked right up to the bar and ordered a coupe of champagne. When the music stopped, a
stopped for a bite. The whores there having a gay time pelting a fat man who had fallen asleep over his meal. He was sound asleep; snoring, in fact, and yet his jaws were working away mechanically. The place was in an uproar. There were shouts of “All aboard!” and then a concerted banging of knives and forks. He opened his eyes for a moment, blinked stupidly, and then his head rolled forward again on his chest. I put the hundred franc bill carefully away in my fob pocket and counted the change.