Once in a long while, appears a writer who is, literally, extra-ordinary. Less extraordinarily, the works of such writers are routinely published to deaf ears: Before Moby Dick, Melville had scored two popular successes with tales of adventureMoreOnce in a long while, appears a writer who is, literally, extra-ordinary. Less extraordinarily, the works of such writers are routinely published to deaf ears: Before Moby Dick, Melville had scored two popular successes with tales of adventure on the South Seas.
His finest work, spurned by contemporary American readers, was a commercial failure. Ironically, the high place now occupied by Melvilles American classic is vindicated--perhaps inadvertently--in the name brand of a highly popular and successful billion-dollar corporate retailer of coffee beverages. Ironically again, the hugely successful Catcher In The Rye was cited in self-defense of a failed presidential assassin.One moral of the story: In the near term, commercially unsuccessful books fail to gain the readers they may deserve- in the long, successful ones deserve the readers they get.Irony and Obscurity, first cousins to the recluse, Truth, are no strangers to J Lilly.
True to his roots, Lilly has leveraged his training in the Greek and Roman classics into a latter-day version of the Greco-Roman literary farce, which numbers post-classical practitioners as varied as Swift and Nabokov. (Contrary to received wisdom, Lolita and Gullivers Travels are not stories about or for children.)Wise Hyenas is a very novel ghost story for very mature readers, told from multiple points of view monitored by a Julio-Claudian observer of present-day American mores.
Wise Hyenas is not a book for the culturally myopic or inattentive, the neo-puritanically moral, the artistically invertebrate, the politically punctilious, the merely legally sane. Nor is it a book for alt-Kultur reactionaries with a reflexive preference for a mythopoeic American Paradise Lost.
It is a book for the studiously wise, weary of a voyeuristic society, in which the distinction between licentiousness and liberty has been perilously and perversely obscured.Caveat lector-Let the reader beware. She is about to enter a free-spin zone.Cover art work entitled Miro Scultore, by Joan Miro