My original comparison for this book was Gene Wolfe writing an issue of Marvel Comics’ “Tomb of Dracula.” This is not a “mean” comparison. I tend to use Wolfe when I want to compare a someone to the pinnacle of excellent writing in a genre (I compare Wolfe himself to Borges or Shakespeare, depending on how effusive I’m feeling). And, as far as comics go, I liked “Tomb of Dracula.” But, on the other hand, I am damning Shepard with faint praise as well. Although The Golden has some excellent writing in it (containing one of the best sex scenes I’ve read in recent years; a good thing that it’s good, too, since it lasts for an entire chapter, and that takes some “balls” to accomplish as well), the novel ultimately strikes me as unfulfilling. There’s a lot of wonderful visuals and high language, but underneath that, it’s still a comic book plot.
This is probably a great antidote to the Anne Rice fan (not that Rice can’t write well; although she hasn’t shown as much of a tendency to do so since Interview with a Vampire). This is also well worth reading if you are a Shepard fan. But I’d hesitate to recommend this blindly. Speaking of recommendations, however, Charles Stross recommended this to me. Although I had already purchased it, his recommendation proved the goad to read it.
[Finished 24 August 1993]