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Despite its title, this is not the story of the ancient Persian king's military conquests and ultimate downfall; instead it is August Ettlinger, a naive, young architect in 1820s Munich, who is the hero of Jonathan Buckley's elaborately stylised second novel, Xerxes.

Metaphors of astonishing originality and baroque literary devices come easily to Buckley; here he uses an architectural motif to unite the two strands of his narrative. So when August isn't attending elegant salons or falling in love with the mysterious, aristocratic Helene, he frets over designs of classical follies. Romantic notions of art and love inspire him, but his sinsister, manipulative patron (a grotesque villain in the Gothic style) soon puts paid to that. At times, Buckley can be annoyingly pedantic, but the analogy of Xerxes' lost empire with August's gradual loss of innocence pays off spectacularly in the end. In alternate chapters, the theme of decay and disillusionment gathers force, as, from his self-imposed exile in the Mediterranean, and older Ettlinger provides technically explicit pen-portraits of the ruins of the Tower of Xerxes. Its decaying chambers echo the decadence of August's circle of gilded youths. And the story of his doomed romance with irresistible Helene gathers dreadful momentum the deeper he delves into her secret life. --Lillian Pizzichini, Amazon.co.uk

 
Used availability for Jonathan Buckley's Xerxes


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Paperback Editions

January 2000 : UK Paperback
Title: Xerxes
Author(s): Jonathan Buckley
ISBN: 1-85702-997-6 / 978-1-85702-997-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1999 : UK Paperback
Title: Xerxes
Author(s): Jonathan Buckley
ISBN: 1-85702-996-8 / 978-1-85702-996-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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