The Fountains of Neptune

The Fountains of Neptune My sleep began in the spring of I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy pricked by an enchanted spinning wheel an impenetrabl

  • Title: The Fountains of Neptune
  • Author: Rikki Ducornet
  • ISBN: 9781564781550
  • Page: 160
  • Format: Paperback
  • My sleep began in the spring of 1914 I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy, pricked by an enchanted spinning wheel an impenetrable briar had gripped my mind Thus begins Rikki Ducornet s brilliant lyric novel about Nicolas who, as a result of witnessing his mother s murder, falls into a decades long My sleep began in the spring of 1914 I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy, pricked by an enchanted spinning wheel an impenetrable briar had gripped my mind Thus begins Rikki Ducornet s brilliant lyric novel about Nicolas who, as a result of witnessing his mother s murder, falls into a decades long coma Awakened in a seaport town in France, he reconstructs his past through story telling and myth, resulting in an astonishing exploration of memory and imagination Ducornet has no time for realism, preferring instead an incredibly pungent, heady and violent brew of words, packed with every maritime image imaginable, in which each sensation seems to be multiplied threefold and each character is ten times larger than life London Review of Books 3 26 92 A book saturated with seawater and myth, a novel rippling with the underwater life of the unconscious, of the bawdy, the drunk and the uninitiated Harvard Review 6 92 A remarkable feat of the imagination Booklist 1 15 92, starred review Highly recommended Library Journal 5 1 92 The Fountains of Neptune bristles with suggested knowledge, with seductions toward symbolic readings The page is redolent with sensual detail It is its own kind of dream The Denver Post 2 9 92

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    About “Rikki Ducornet

    • Rikki Ducornet

      Rikki Ducornet born Erica DeGre, April 19, 1943 in Canton, New York is an American postmodernist, writer, poet, and artist.Ducornet s father was a professor of sociology, and her mother hosted community interest programs on radio and television Ducornet grew up on the campus of Bard College in New York, earning a B.A in Fine Arts from the same institution in 1964 While at Bard she met Robert Coover and Robert Kelly, two authors who shared Ducornet s fascination with metamorphosis and provided early models of how fiction might express this interest In 1972 she moved to the Loire Valley in France with her then husband, Guy Ducornet In 1988 she won a Bunting Institute fellowship at Radcliffe In 1989 she moved back to North America after accepting a teaching position in the English Department at The University of Denver In 2007, she replaced retired Dr Ernest Gaines as Writer in Residence at the The University of Louisiana In 2008, The American Academy of Arts and Letters conferred upon her one of the eight annual Academy Awards presented to writers.

    182 thoughts on “The Fountains of Neptune

    • The Fountains Of Neptune experience for me is a brackish filled fountain in and of itself. Generously constructed by Ms.Ducornet as she draws upon the fresh and salt water expression. Channeling a fresh water river of refined language used to convey contemplations and dreams. Then brazenly she summons a salt water tide. The raffish dialogue of those that solicit the sea. Submerge yerself within this fountain, I say. Abandon yer rags and liberate yer thoughts, seek the waters fer a true reflectio [...]


    • The jury is still out.“The night Sputnik passed overhead, I opened my eyes for the first time in thirty years and before closing them again for another twenty, I sang a song. Rose’s churning song, from start to finish. K managed to catch the refrain:When the Devil comesTake up a stickAnd beat, beat, beat him about the horns.Beat the Devil ‘til he calls for his mother;Beat the Devil into white creamAnd sweet, sweet butter.”Having read two excellent books by Rikki Ducornet, and thoroughly [...]


    • With certain reviews floating around and the jacket cover description, I was reluctant to slip between the covers of this book – it is not one of the most entrancing subjects, the idea of someone sleeping more than half a life-time through both world wars and awakening to discover loss in all its myriad forms. And this description, since it is the seeming device with which the story is rendered, is the first step along the voyage to misunderstanding the nature of this book. It’s an easy hoo [...]


    • I entered dreaming this dream of the author's dreaming about others dreaming the dreams of others. She may well have written this while dreaming or upon waking, or the tremble of the dream that visits during the tending of the world. It is written in the words of dream-breath. We have no say, dreams arrive and end as they may. The one's most important might thrive unnoticed, their remaining shreds vanishing into the ether of the worlds scrum. Our hope is to awake into the dream calling for us no [...]


    • I can hear the waves sucking at the land's edge; I can hear the parables, the fables of water, the elusive but lyrical weatherglass vocabularies of water.The third in Rikki Ducornet's elemental tetralogy, The Fountains of Neptune picks up some threads from the first two books, drops others, and spins some new ones to create a dreamy but sluggish narrative about a boy who spends half a century lost in a coma, falling unconscious in 1910s France and waking up, two world wars later, with his childh [...]


    • Indebted to Oliver Sacks’s sleeping-sickness favourite Awakenings (quote from him on the cover), the third of Ducornet’s elemental teratology takes place in a surreal underwater landscape populated by salty, tale-spinning eccentrics. Despite the lyrical opening chapter, the inventive stream of surreal images and tangents, and the wildly comedic dialogue, I couldn’t follow The Fountains of Neptune along its rocky, circuitous paths without a sense of magical ennui gradually setting in. The r [...]


    • Confound and BewilderFor all its five star ratings, this marvellous (third) novel in Rikki Ducornet’s tetralogy of elements deserves a more widespread and attentive reading than it has had so far.In a mere 220 pages, it manages at first to confound, only later to enchant, then to astonish and finally to bewilder.Boy(friend) in a ComaThe narrator is a 60 year old boy/man (Nicolas, Nini or the Sandman) who has just emerged from a coma that commenced when he was only nine. It turns out that he wi [...]


    • I bathed in this book and it was a tub replete with bubbles both sweetly lavender scented and noxious, silken water that took its time serpentining over my body, fantastical and ephemeral bubbles that gave my eyeballs rides to places alien and familiar, and a drain that was a fount of prehensile amphibians making a bee-line for my genitals (slimy, toothed, arousing). Précis: An orphaned boy grows up in a seaside French town populated with outrageous characters – old salts spinning wild tales, [...]


    • Not the best of the handful of Ducornets I've read, but spending time immersed in any of her language-worlds is still better than 99.999% of whatever else you could be doing with your life.


    • Waters of allusion and myth drip off every page, permeating this slim, saturated fable. Distant oceans overlap, bleeding iron red. Blankets of fog mist over memory, spawning green algae demons and invoking reflected goddesses of the virtuous abyss. Oceans of shark and fish spill over into oceans of stars, flooding deeper the waters of sleep and dreams, wombs and death.Navigating wherever it wishes, internal light filters freely, cleverly disguised as a spectral moon. Illuminated under liquid moo [...]


    • I know, I know. It's about dang time I actually get one of Rikki's lovely books read. This has been a good year for my introductions to by-me previously never read authors and Rikki's close to the next-top of the list. Honest. Honest. --myself, some time ago.Just another instance of the sickness of our book culture, no? Look at Ducornet's numbers One day we will collectively awaken and discover all the BURIED wonders which have passed under our nodding heads.


    • Her best, so surreal but filled with deep sadness. There are two dueling storytellers in this book, one speaking of oppression and horror and the other tales of wonder and bitter sweetness. These are the dueling spirits in Ducornet’s books. Sadness fills this book even at its most surreal moments. A boy sleeps through the world wars and drowns in his own world and memories. More than a hint of Bruno Shultz in these pages. Possibly the best of her Elements Quartet, which is maybe her greatest a [...]


    • I've read this several times, and it remains my favorite book. Deceptively simple, it's a lyrical exploration of the nature of obsessional memory and the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma.


    • Sexuality begins at conception. Alright, so I’m panning a pro-life shibboleth. The clinical psychoanalytical truth, an estimable hurdle for the adult mind down to the day, is that children are sexual creatures. Contrary to conventional superstition, it does not emerge in the Sturm und Drang of puberty, it is everything enswaddled from day one. Formidable mechanisms of repression cordon this as a “zero tolerance” taboo zone because they don’t know the difference between talking about the [...]




    • --This is the story of a 9 year old boy who lapses into a coma that lasts 50 years. Once awakened he recreates his life using stories of his past and memories. Should that sound clinical, sterile, or bland (or, perhaps 'flowery') please allow me to disabuse you of that notion.--Ducornet lyrically crafts this tale of longing and heartache with such brilliant force that I may need to take a few days off before cracking the cover of whatever book has the now-misfortune of following The Fountains of [...]



    • "The Fountains of Neptune" is a dream-like, dense anti-novel that uses dreams and myths to discuss the perception of history, memory, and loss. Like the novels of Jeanette Winterson, "Neptune" does not rely on standard plot structure. The basic story is two-fold: young Nicholas grows up in preWWI France, a precocious nine year old living a town of eccentric storytellers. A traumatic event causes him to go into a coma. He wakes up 50 years later, after both World Wars, having spent his life in dr [...]


    • This text is split into two parts; the first is a lush world where the reader's every sense is activated. The second half moves into a more psychological space, where Ducornet challenges the reader to think in interesting ways. It's a wonderful balance of welcoming the reader into a magical world and then moving into a place that gets at the larger questions of life. Another fave from my MA program.




    • my very favorite dalkey archive book. about a childhood that, sure, is rough, but also one where people love you and that makes a lot of difference.


    • All the myriad aspects of me really responded to this book and I highly recommend it for poets and poetic people.



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