Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods, a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place.

My Thoughts: Although it took me an unforgivably long time to get this whole story read, it was not through lack of interest, I assure you. I have looked at many reviews, and it appears that a lot of readers just didn't "get it" - describing it as a "travelogue" or such. But this... this is a brilliant little piece of dream-world building, and the ultimate aspiration of any lucid dreamer is to create a world as vivid as the world Randolph Carter creates for his own dreams (or at least I aspire to such - I have had dreams from which I have awakened, most reluctantly, while in the process of begging whomever I am with in the dream to hold me there somehow). Others complain of Lovecraft's racism, but ignore the fact that he was just parroting the thoughts of the time. Besides, anyone who venerates cats the way this guy does can't be all bad, right?

I reveled in the lush prose, enjoyed the horrors he creates in this short. I highly recommend Lovecraft to people who, like me, love words.

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