Read Daemonomania by John Crowley Online


Our ReviewIn a perfect world, John Crowley would be universally recognized as one of our greatest living writers. His novels -- which include Little, Big, arguably the finest single volume fantasy of the past half century -- are intricate, beautifully composed creations that demand -- and repay -- repeated readings. We don't, of course, live in a perfect world, and so CrowOur ReviewIn a perfect world, John Crowley would be universally recognized as one of our greatest living writers. His novels -- which include Little, Big, arguably the finest single volume fantasy of the past half century -- are intricate, beautifully composed creations that demand -- and repay -- repeated readings. We don't, of course, live in a perfect world, and so Crowley never has become a household name. He is, rather, the quintessential cult figure, the focal point of a relatively small, intensely devoted readership. His latest novel, Daemonomania, is unlikely to change this situation, but should provide the members of the Crowley cult with a legitimate, long-overdue reason to celebrate.Daemonomania is the third installment -- after Aegypt (1987) and Love and Sleep (1994) -- in a massive, multi-volume novel that has occupied Crowley for almost 20 years. This latest volume (whose title derives from a 16th century treatise on sorcery and demonic possession) once again explores the little/big dichotomy so central to Crowley's work, neatly juxtaposing the "ordinary" lives of an ongoing cast of central characters against the gigantic backdrop of an infinite -- and infinitely strange -- universe. As always in Crowley's fiction, the further in you go, the bigger it gets.A single, central conceit animates the entire sequence of novels: the notion that the universe itself is malleable, that each "World Age" is followed by a radically different age governed by radically different physical laws. An age dominated by magic can be followed by an age in which magic is -- and always was -- impossible. As each new epoch establishes itself, its past -- its history -- retrospectively realigns itself, conforming to the governing principles of the newborn age. Reality is -- sporadically, at least -- fluid, protean. And there is more than one history of the world.Daemonomania and its predecessors all take place in what Crowley calls a "passage time," a brief period of limitless possibility between the end of one age and the beginning of the next. In passage times, the old rules -- the old limits -- sometimes give way, and certain individuals can comprehend -- and perhaps even influence -- the changes taking shape around them. One such individual is Pierce Moffett, the failed lover, failed teacher, and failed historian who stands at the center of this vast complex of interconnected narratives.Pierce is, among other things, a seeker after Meaning. Early in the opening volume, he leaves his home in New York City and moves to the mythical, bucolic Faraway Hills, where he begins to write a pseudo-scholarly study of the various superstitions and systems of belief that have arisen throughout history. Once settled in his new home, Pierce finds himself caught up in a vast, ongoing Story that seems (maybe, possibly) to have been waiting just for him. Some of the stories nested within that larger Story concern the troubled lives and evolving relationships of Pierce's neighbors. Other stories concern older, more arcane matters, matters that Pierce -- by virtue of his peculiar past and eccentric erudition -- finds strangely, teasingly familiar.The story begins in earnest when Rosie Rasmussen, another troubled seeker, hires Pierce to sort through the posthumous papers of Fellows Kraft, a once popular historical novelist who was one of the iconic figures of Pierce's childhood. Among these papers is an unfinished, perhaps unfinishable novel called Aegypt, which is set amidst the pervasive strangeness of 16th century Europe, an earlier World Age just then entering its own turbulent passage time. Kraft's novel follows the parallel, occasionally intersecting paths of two Renaissance mages, John Dee and Giordano Bruno. The world these men inhabit -- a world filled with angelic visitations and impossible acts of magical transformation -- contains numerous, subtle reflections of the late 20th century, a world that is itself (maybe, possibly) heading toward a moment of fundamental, irreversible change.As Daemonomania shuttles back and forth between one age and another, one story and another, the tone of the narrative grows perceptibly darker. John Dee descends into a lonely old age marked by poverty and neglect, while Bruno -- a notorious heretic -- moves toward his inevitable -- and fatal -- encounter with the Roman Inquisition. Meanwhile, in the later, very different world of the Faraway Hills, Pierce struggles to survive a doomed, lacerating love affair; Rosie Rasmussen struggles with her daughter's illness, and with the competing custody claims of her estranged husband; and an ominous, seductive religious cult (The Powerhouse) gradually establishes a foothold in the community. As these events -- and others -- move slowly toward their various resolutions, a very literal wind of change blows through the novel, rearranging the world into a new -- as yet unglimpsed -- configuration.This huge, ambitious novel -- which still has one volume to go -- is erudite, wonderfully well written, and endlessly fascinating. It works, with equal facility, on a number of levels: as a meditation on the nature of magic, and on the magical power of love and memory; as a corollary meditation on the endless human yearning for meaning and coherence; as a vast, metaphysical speculation on the nature and progress of human history; and as an equally vast metaphor for the nature and progress of the individual life. The result of all this is a dense, sometimes daunting work that is clearly not for everyone. But readers who approach these books with patience, energy, and openness of spirit will find themselves enriched, enlivened, and possibly even enlarged. Daemonomania -- together with Aegypt, Love and Sleep, Engine Summer and Little, Big -- has found a permanent place on my personal shelf of important, enduring novels. I hope it finds a similar place on yours.|--Bill Sheehan...

Title : Daemonomania
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553378238
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Daemonomania Reviews

  • tim
    2019-04-14 07:01

    What John Crowley does with words is so hard to put a finger on, let alone a review. A modern magician in disguise, from within the ordinary he conjures the ineffable that sustains us day by day. And by expertly blurring the borders that separate novelty from routine, he leaves us double guessing whether anything outside the norm actually even occurred. That’s my kind of magic; that’s my kind of book.

  • Steve
    2019-03-25 09:01

    This third part of the Aegypt quartet deals with a Christian charismatic cult, witch-hunts (both contemporary and historical) and intolerance. Simultaneously, it picks up the fascinating tales-within-the-tale of John Dee, erstwhile magus to Queen Elizabeth and Giordano Bruno, heretic and master of symbol and memory. The writing is gorgeous and compelling. Crowley picks up strands of plot from the first and second volumes and runs with them. His insights into Hermeticism, as well as the magic of everyday life, are powerful. The play of symbols is awe-inspiring and woven expertly into the narrative. There are musings on Little Nemo comic strips (depicted here as Little Enosh, with a gnostic twist) and the development of an ongoing Grail motif involving protagonist Pierce, standing in for Parsifal, who is both foolish and heroic. Central to this novel is the dilemma of loving someone who has become someone else entirely. Sometimes you find a novel that speaks to your station in life, as if it were written just for you. Oddly, this is also a theme in the novels. John Crowley's Aegypt cycle came at just the right time for me. I can't recommend them highly enough. And, even as I am chomping at the bit to read the concluding volume, I just don't want this reading experience to end.I can't recommend these books highly enough.

  • Kevin
    2019-04-06 04:16

    When this book came out, Bantam Publishing thought it would be a terrific idea to not mention that this was third in a series of books. As a result of this choice, the publication of this series has been erratic and relegated to smaller publishing houses that can not reach a broader audience. This is because people bought this book thinking it was a standalone, and were understandably confused when characters showed up whose background was given in previous books. Who is that? Why are they important? Pierce is writing a book? What is it about? What is all this stuff about Dee and Kelley communicating with angels? Why is he not explaining any of this? Indeed, the background ideas of there being multiple histories is hardly touched on in this book...I mean, the reader should all ready know this stuff after reading the previous two, right?It's interesting, this development in Daemonomania's publishing history... namely because it does encompass quite a bit of what the book is about. The passage-time between histories is drawing to a close, where the old world and all the other possible worlds pass beyond man's kin and a new world is set into place. What determines which world comes into being and which fades into that misty nether-realm beyond the West? Why, choices that are often made without thought and knowledge of the consequences. Choices like not saying this book is third in a series of four...or taking six years to write this book after the considerably more successful Love & Sleep. It is only after making these choices that we discover what is exactly at stake, and as we fight for what we care for, we find that the possibilities and options that seemed once so plentifully available to us are inaccessible... or have now become impossible. Autumn has come, transitioning the world from the summer of possibilities to the cold winter in which no work can be done. Magic is much more plentiful in Daemonomania than in the previous installments. And yet, the world seems much more real in the stoic sense than in previous installments as well. It becomes brutally apparent that all the magical possibilities, all the supernatural experiences will mean nothing if the world that comes into being after the passage time has no place for them.This is a bleaker novel then the previous two. Not bleak in any overly violent or gritty way... but in the way life often is bleak. That forces beyond our control because, perhaps, of choices that meant more then we could have imagined were made by us or by those we wish to protect. Irreversible courses are set and a new world is made... paradoxically not according to our desires but definitely by our choices.

  • Vicky
    2019-03-26 10:24

    Like the two previous books in the Aegypt series, this one is monumental, riveting, exasperating. I rarely read books twice, but I have a feeling I am going to be reading this series again sometime, because so much eluded me the first time. Crowley's oblique, evocative, tantalizing style keeps you hooked but in the end I felt frustrated, wondering if I'd missed clues I should have picked up. To take just one example, what was the "quiet question" that Beau Brachman, posing as Jesus, puts to the Powerhouse fundamentalists? Apparently we are supposed to guess what it was? Whatever it was, it changed the world, so it seems kind of important!To go from reading Little Dorrit to reading Daemonomania is like seeing the development of the modern novel in one swell foop. Dickens tries to write tales that feel like reality; Crowley is trying to convince you that reality is a tale (one of many possible tales, in fact). I like the metaphysical dimensions of the Aegypt cycle, but felt we were cheated on character (as we certainly never are with Dickens!). Only Pierce Moffett is deeply revealed to us; the others are all merely sketched. This was another area of frustration for me, because I wanted to get to know them better. I think the book could have sacrificed a few of its more high-flown metaphysical moments to give us more time with the main characters. But still...what a read.

  • Bobby
    2019-04-22 11:17

    The Aegypt sequence continues. The "darkest" book of the tetraology. Absorbing, if at times baffling. There are pages of hermetic/gnostic musings which can be difficult to parse, but Crowley is always a beautiful and engaging writer, so for my money it's worth it.

  • Adam
    2019-04-01 11:02

    I got stuck in the middle of this one for a long time, but once I came back and focused on it, it went by very quickly.In some ways, the Aegypt series still feels tremendously unfocused. It is united by the new age magic and world-organizing principles that everyone in the book finds, guided by an endless supply of gurus (Cliff, Ray, Beau, even Pierce in his own way). There is no ideology, of course - in a Crowley novel, everything is about feeling and intuition, and the attempt to fit anything into an evidence-based logical order would burst all the bubbles. (view spoiler)[In a sense, this is the chief conflict of Daemonomania, since Pierce's distress over Rose's conversion centers on his unwillingness to let her believe the absurdities he spends so much time studying. (hide spoiler)] Crowley continues his always magnificent ability to distill momentary intuitive feelings we've all felt but never named. He really clarifies, in a truly earnest and respectful way, how things I think of as conspiracy theories and New Age bullshit could just make sense to someone, despite their relation to "truth." The John Dee sections dragged quite a bit for me, and I was always eager to get beyond them. Pierce's descent into whatever manic symptoms he shows towards the end of the book is fascinating, and I'm very much excited to see how Crowley makes all of this make some kind of sense - I trust him immensely and imagine the conclusion to this vast story-conglomerate will be very satisfying. Dee's arc includes a bunch of things that just no longer made sense, new characters whose positions and motives I didn't really grasp (Burgi?), and a bunch of implied metaphysical business that went over my head. Perhaps that will be clarified by the end?I don't get the animosity people express about Rose. Her character is fascinating to me, especially (view spoiler)[the nature of her and Pierce's sexual bluff. (hide spoiler)]

  • Jennifer Uhlich
    2019-04-14 08:27

    Again four stars, but this was a rougher one for me . . . it's really 3.5 with the scope of the whole series pulling it up a little. Mostly because I don't like Rose, and the more the book zoomed in on her the more irritated I got. I have a painfully low tolerance for people I want to slap, whether on the page or in real life, and there was definitely more than one moment of thinking "really? she's become this important? are you sure this is working, or are you just using her to nudge the plot along?" And yet . . . to be honest, I hadn't expected to get so, well, involved with the characters at all . . . there is so much brain candy being offered that I sometimes forget there are also people being presented and described. In truth, for much of this volume I was more engaged in the Kraft novel; I think that because it is set in another time it is that much more transporting, while the main storyline is set in a past I can remember in my own life, however fragmented: familiar, and thus I gloss over the sensual details and zoom in on the conceptual knickknacks that litter the pages. If that makes sense. Anyway, now a quick detour through some overdue library books (one being Dr. Dee's journals, if nothing else this series is making me want to read all that has funneled into it, which is quite a lot) and then it's on to Endless Things.

  • Bibliophile
    2019-04-05 07:00

    On re-reading Aegypt and Love & sleep I was reminded of how much I love the Aegypt novels. Daemonomania, which I finally read for the first time, didn't disappoint. Just the fact that these books exist makes me staggeringly happy. I won't even try to describe them, James Hynes did that really well here: sums up the genius of Crowley perfectly, talking about "the sense of spaciousness, of depth, of the boundlessness of his imagination" and his "ability to give the reader the feeling that at any point in these novels you could make a sharp left turn from the narrative and just keep going–there’s that much world and story and mystery out there that he’s simply not bothering to show you. It’s a majestic folly, to spend all these riches of language and imagination and erudition, all this effort and all this time, to create a work of art that will, I hope, in its final volume, lead Pierce Moffett, and maybe his author, and maybe even me, to a moment of perfect understanding."Majestic folly indeed.

  • Mindy McAdams
    2019-03-26 08:11

    The scope of this quartet of novels is magnificent and awe-inspiring. This third book in a tetralogy (The Aegypt Cycle) requires you to have read the first and second, to an even greater degree than many other series. If you've read the first and are debating reading the second, see my review here on Goodreads: here The date I read this is approximate, but I'm sure it was within a few months of the release of the hardcover in the U.S. I had read the first and second books in paperback (the first in 1989 or 1990). At that time, I had no idea this would be a 20-year project for author John Crowley.

  • Robert Vazquez Pacheco
    2019-04-19 08:09

    This is an exceptionally well-written novel. Sometimes good in terms of beautiful imagery and sometimes a little show-offy. Sometimes a little florid but otherwise fascinating. I liked this novel a lot. I really had to pay attention and sometimes was forced to reread structurally complex sentences to figure out. One of the reasons I like James Baldwin, Henry James and Marcel Proust. LOL. What can I say? Because the effort it takes to read, I can't devour this like most of the stuff I read.The story bounces back and forth between an interesting group of characters, including John Dee, whose biography I just read, and Giordano Bruno, whose biographer I am going to read. I'm not sure why this novel is classified as science fiction, at least by the New York Public Library. Whatever the classification, no pun intended, this is a good read..

  • Loretta
    2019-03-27 07:14

    This is my least favourite of the series so far - meandering, slow, kind of pointless, no movement until the very end. Meh. It probably didn't help that my life was busy while I was trying to read this so I was reading it fairly slowly - it might have been better if I could have devoted myself to it for the better part of a day - but even allowing for that, it still felt like mostly filler. I am going to move on straight to the fourth book in hopes that it will pick up the pace - it's shorter, at least. I fear if I don't read it right away, I won't, and I still have some high hopes for it.

  • Streator Johnson
    2019-04-17 09:00

    *Sigh* I realize that John Crowley is an acquired taste for many people but for me, he can write some of the most hypnotic and compelling prose I've ever read. When I come upon it, I sink right through the words into whatever world Mr. Crowley had decided to create. The problem, for this book, is that that writing is broken up by considerable stretches of the most pedestrian writing that brings you up short wondering what just happened.But I have made it through three of the four books of the Cycle, so I can only hope the conclusion will sing like it should.....

  • Anneke Dubash
    2019-03-31 06:23

    Definitely more going on in Daemonomania, Volume 3 of the Aegypt series.Still, I do wish someone would get to the bloody point in the book. At least this volume is moving at a faster pace than the first two volumes. I just wish that Crowley didn't feel the need to fill the reader in on things that went before in the previous volumes, as though he expects the reader to have a short memory. If you didn't bother reading the first two volumes, you shouldn't be reading this one.

  • scarlettraces
    2019-04-25 05:08

    So I've now been reading this series for about 20 years, and I ain't finished yet. This vol had a nadir, during which I seriously considered whether I keep Love & Sleep - the only one I actually own - on the shelves or send it off to a new home at the Sallies, but it redeemed itself. I think. I shall have to take a pause, and probably a deep breath, before tackling Endless Things.(Basically I just want Crowley to write Little, Big over & over again. Perfect book.)

  • Bill Tucker
    2019-04-25 08:13

    Supurb prose...but more on this at a later date. I'm asking myself why it's necessary to start with volume three of a series (granted the first two are not available at my local library), but I'm not regretting my decision in the least. Dense with psychological and spiritual detail, yet remarkably simple in its use of language. Wordy, but not prolix.

  • Gerald Vance
    2019-04-03 06:14

    This series is like a best friend. I forget how much I love it and how much of myself I wrapped around it until I go back and open my eyes to its familiarity. I will write a real review someday (perhaps when I finish the series) but for now I don't really have words just warm feelings! Amazing…

  • Chris
    2019-03-30 02:59

    I love this series. It's heavy, but each book is really about life and that is what makes the series so good. It makes you think about what life is and what it means. This volume is darker than the others and does seem to be moving to the conclusion.

  • Aaron
    2019-04-23 05:18

    The third book in the Aegypt Cycle. The very dark counterpart to it's predecesor, "Love and Sleep". Deals with a religious cult, witches, werewolves, madness, and the public burning of Giordano Bruno, the 16th Century monk and philosopher. Crazy shit. Blew my Noodle.

  • Kaethe
    2019-04-21 08:28

    Probably I wouldn't have tackled this if I'd realized it was the last in a series I haven't started, but oh, well. As much as I loved Little, Big, this one didn't grab me at all.

  • Rochelle
    2019-04-06 03:17

    Started the third book of what is an extraordinary is really good.....magical, seductive, quixotic, thoroughly wonderful...........really may turn out to be one of the best books I've ever read. Ever.

  • Christopher Sutch
    2019-04-01 09:59

    Part three (of four). The plot advances, the peril to the characters is heartbreaking. I never wanted it to end.

  • Fishsanwitt
    2019-04-02 05:23


  • Jake
    2019-04-13 08:09

    3.5, ponderous.

  • Geoffrey
    2019-04-14 03:27

    For the first time, it really is impressed upon me how fiendishly intricate this whole conception is. Quite a thing.

  • Kevin Contzen
    2019-04-11 07:17

    Builds and builds. Beautiful and harrowing and romantic.

  • Brandyn
    2019-04-21 10:18

    so far just as confusing and compelling as the first three---with more sex thrown in. this story is wierd. wierd! and pretty terrific. so many chararacters, so little time....

  • Erin
    2019-04-05 10:29

    Can't wait to read Endless Things, now!

  • Richard
    2019-04-06 10:03

    A tentative rating. I enjoyed this better than Love & Sleep, but in the end, how I feel about this book will depend on lot on how Endless Things turns out.

  • Alex
    2019-03-26 09:12

    Daemonomania by John Crowley (2001)

  • Ralph
    2019-04-12 08:00

    Like the second in the series, better as a part of the whole than on its own. Will probably write a longer review for the fourth and final book in the cycle.