Reading history and reviews
Finished on 14th June 2014In spite of the subtitle "a novel about internet sex", this is really nothing of the sort - although both sex and the internet feature to some degree, as this is Russell Hoban it also features the works of Odilon Redon, Gustav Klimt, and the myth of Angelica and Ruggerio.
The story revolves around Harold Klein, who loses his inner voice and so finds himself speaking his thoughts out loud instead. In the course of trying to recover his "internal censor", he finds himself visiting "Angelica's Grotto" (the pornographic website of the title) and from there being drawn into a relationship with the young woman who runs it. Nearing the end of his life, Klein seems to find a new one, but it's not a particularly comfortable or safe journey - and the destination is not a sure one.
I have become a big fan of Hoban's work, and I think this is one of my favourite Hoban books so far. I don't know if the ageing protoganists reflect Hoban's own age when he wrote it, but I always enjoy the complexity of the characters and their relationships, his references to art and music (which are worn very lightly) and how he mixes the ridiculous and fanciful with more serious - often shocking - turns in the plot, and is quietly brilliant. Look forward to rereading one day.