Beasts, by John Crowley

Doubleday 1976.

Crowley's second novel is not very consistent in tone or prose quality. The plot is darker and more brutual than is usual with him. The biggest flaw is in his emphasis on political intrigue, a subject he doesn't treat very well and in which he seems to have no interest. Apart from another brief segment in Little, Big he mostly refrains from political topics in his fiction.

This book does have the clearest statement of his disdain for narrow utilitarian rationalism, for the centralized order of modernity.

His speculations about the breakup of America into semi-autonomous zones a century from now are quite believable. Freedom is possible only in the interstices of the powers, in the breakdown of their dominion.

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