Title: Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel.
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Genre: Fiction, science fiction, pop fiction.
Publication Date: 1953.
Summary: A look at the literary life and its "attendant woes: isolation, writer's block, professional jealousy, and plain boredom." But it is also about life in general, with its anguish, turnips, conjunctions, illness, defeat, string, parties, no parties, urns, desuetude, disaffection, claws, loss, trebizond, napkins, shame, stones, distance, fever, antipodes, mush, glaciers, incoherence, labels, miasma, amputation, tides, deceit, mourning, elsewards. You get the point. Finally it is about Edward Gorey the writer, about Edward Gorey writing The Unstrung Harp. It's a cracked mirror of a book, and it's dedicated to RDP, or Real Dear Person.
My rating: 8.5/10.
♥ Snow was falling when Mr Earbrass woke, which suggested he open TUH with the first flakes of what could be developed into a prolonged and powerfully purple blizzard. On paper, if not outdoors, they have kept coming down all afternoon, over and over again, in all possible ways; and only now, at nightfall, have done so satisfactorily. For writing Mr Earbrass affects an athletic sweater of forgotten origin and unknown significance; it is always worn hind-side-to.
♥ Even more harrowing than the first chapters of a novel are the last, for Mr Earbrass anyway. The characters have one and all become thoroughly tiresome, as though he had been trapped at the same party with them since the day before; neglected sections of the plot loom on every hand, waiting to be disposed of; his verbs seem to have withered away and his adjectives to be proliferating past control. Furthermore, at this stage he inevitably gets insomnia. Even rereading The Truffle Plantation (his first novel) does not induce sleep. In the blue horror of dawn the vines in the carpet appear likely to begin twining up his ankles.
♥ Before he knew what he was doing, Mr Earbrass found he had every intention of spending a few weeks on the Continent. In a trance of efficiency, which could have surprised no-one more than himself, he made the complicated and maddening preparations for his departure in no time at all. Now, at dawn, he stands, quite numb with cold and trepidation, looking at the churning surface of the Channel. He assumes he will be horribly sick for hours and hours, but it doesn’t matter. Though he is a person to whom things do not happen, perhaps they may when he is on the other side.