Someone at work asked me what John Crowley’s Aegypt quartet was about, and I gave the answer I’ve always given, no matter where I was in the cycle. I said, “I have no idea what these books are about. I love them, but I have no idea.”
I decided I’m being a little hard on myself. I do know some things the books are about. Here’s a short list.
Astrology, alchemy, angels; books, bible stories; Catholicism, clockwork, colleges, cults; demons, dementia, dominance games; Egypt, epilepsy; fathers, family, fear, failure; Gnosticism, gypsies, ghosts, Giordano Bruno; humanity, history; imagination, isolation, illusion; jesters, Jews, John Dee; knowledge; love, lies, loneliness; magic, mysteries, manipulation; nature, numinous places; oracles, old gods, origin myths; Prague, passages, poison rings; questions, quests; Rome, Romania, revelations; sex, secrets, seekers, sheep; time, thresholds, the end of the world; underworlds, unfinished works; via negativa; wizards, worlds within worlds, women named Rose; xenogenesis; youth, yearning; zealots.
Honestly? I was more intrigued by “I have no idea what these books are about. I love them, but I have no idea.” than the list. None come to mind right, now but I’ve described books to people with those words too.
It was more the challenge to see if I could find words for each letter of the alphabet.
Oh… I’m so lame I never put any of that together.
The interesting thing about these books is that I could actually *do* that, because he covers so many ideas and tropes. And, really, I still have only the faintest glimmering of what they are “about.”