God Ficus - you should work in marketing! I had absolutely no intention of reading
Originally posted by FicusFan
"To Wound the Autumnal City" is the sentence fragment the book starts with, the ending sentence fragment is actually the first half of the above sentence (with a double "to"). The story is circular, and perhaps about a story from the inside - since Kid/d seems to be writing it at various points.
Dhalgren is not meant to be picked apart, it is meant to be experienced, and Delany scrambles your senses first. It is like being inside the Dali painting with the melting clocks. You have to give up relying on linear progression, and perspective, and just accept what is on the page.
It starts, in the dark, it could be late summer or early fall, it could be anywhere, it is on the grassy verge of a highway and you meet a man who might or might not be named Kidd/Kid who might or might not be a poet or a writer, who might or might not be 17 or 45, who may or may not have made love to a woman before, during, or after she may or may not have turned into a tree. And it just gets better :D
Every time you read it is a different experience because you focus on different parts. I have read it over 10 times since I first got it in 1976 or so. It is my favorite book. If I were stranded on a desert island it would be the only book I would need.
I also think his characters are among the most realistic and are incredibly human in terms of thoughts, emotions, and actions. He also tends to include character types that are overlooked in SF and F: Minorities, the Poor, Gay,Lesbian and Bisexual. He plays with language and his SF&F before Dhalgren is more focused on use of language because he was trying to conform to normal social standards. After he let his characters become people who he was interested in writing about.