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James Hynes (1) (1955–)

Författare till The Lecturer's Tale

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10+ verk 1,811 medlemmar 53 recensioner 2 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Writer James Hynes loves cats and has worked them into several of his publications, including his collection of three novellas entitled Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror. A combination of horror story and academic satire, Publish and Perish was the result of Hynes yearning to visa mer create horror stories in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe and M.R. James. Hynes first gained national attention in 1990 with the publication of The Wild Colonial Boy. In addition, his essays on television criticism have appeared in Mother Jones and Utne Reader. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre

Verk av James Hynes

The Lecturer's Tale (2001) 491 exemplar
Next (2010) 333 exemplar
Kings of Infinite Space (2004) 317 exemplar
The Wild Colonial Boy (1990) 81 exemplar
Sparrow (2023) 50 exemplar
99 (1999) 2 exemplar
Queen of the Jungle (1998) 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

Pygmalion : en romantisk komedi (1913) — Bidragsgivare, vissa utgåvor; vissa utgåvor6,537 exemplar
Snake's Hands: The Fiction of John Crowley (2003) — Bidragsgivare — 45 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



More like 4.5 stars. Sparrow isn't really a literary or artistic masterpiece—honestly, far from it. But Hynes is a true master of the construction of a novel, and a difficult one at that, as this story is truly the definition of a "slow burn". Very few things happen in the first quarter of the novel, and the author has a lust for description that can get a bit plodding ("Can he just come already? incarnate; not Anne Rice level but just about.). I found Sparrow's greatest strength in its worldbuilding and characterization.

Sparrow is the story of a young (potentially Syrian, potentially Jewish) boy sold into slavery as a baby and raised with the "wolves" of Helicon, one of the last brothels left in Roman Spain in the waning days of the Empire. Unnamed and often beaten, Sparrow (as he calls himself) is quickly forced to grow up beyond his years. Eventually made to work upstairs with the women who raised him, Sparrow quickly begins to break down, beaten by the institutions of slavery, sex, and physical labour.

If you couldn't tell, this story is uncomfortable. Deeply. It's in some ways what makes it such a compelling read. In what world would being a sex slave not be horrific? With a similar premise and setting to The Wolf Den trilogy, Sparrow is the grittier, more realistic, and more heartbreaking twin of the pair. I read this book continuously for several days, pushing myself through it despite the many times I thought it'd be better to just shelve it for the night. The novel does an excellent (maybe even too excellent) exploration of the violence of being entered against your will, describing the breaking down of the psyche and constant dissociation that must occur to survive these inhuman practices.

I don't get squeamish easily and that extends to sex, but Jesus Christ. It felt as if sometimes the story veered into the trauma porn for the amount of bullshit and level of graphic description, but God, that's just life, right? I will concede my own history of PTSD and sexual assault are involved in my unease, so if that sounds like you just be aware it's a bit intense. Yugh.

Perhaps (okay definitely) showing my biases, I was often surprised that it was a man who wrote this; the story is so much about the psyche of women under some of the cruelest uses of their body by men that I've definitely been changed for the better. Hynes writes as I would expect a woman to, and I guess I must relinquish my expectation of writing by gender. Hynes is brilliant at it, and all the ugly sex-specific gunk that makes women's psyche so raw is included. Great great additions all around.

Lastly, contrary to the tagging on this site, this novel is not what I would characterize as LGBT or even maybe a queer story. There are definitely themes granted the premise, but they are dark and small compared to the greater story of systematic dehumanization in slavery and what it meant to be a male prostitute at the time. Our titular character is what people would describe today as bisexual, but—I can't iterate this enough—this is not a romance, and there are very few scenes of "self-discovery." The novel ends with the character at around the age of 13 after years of forced prostitution... It's realistic, which makes it so uncomfortable, but sexuality is not the backbone of this story in any meaningful way.

Anyway, I loved this book. LOVED it. It didn't make me think too hard and instead was just a captivating, moving, (eventually) thrilling story. Because of how much I loved it, I'm worried the marketing for it is really failing to capture the usual audience I think would love this—unfortunately, I think the book having an author with such a masculine name like James will turn the usual feminist readers of this sort of story away. It sounds insane but the industry is wild.
… (mer)
Eavans | 1 annan recension | Nov 25, 2023 |
Not since Leiber's "Conjure Wife" has academia gamboled so compellingly with the Dark Arts. A good read on so many levels, frisson horror to academic satire.
Lemeritus | 8 andra recensioner | Sep 16, 2023 |
Writing at the end of his life, Jacob tells his story. How he was brought up from infancy in a brothel in a small city in Spain. His friends slaves and prostitutes, not even having a name of his own. On being told a tale about birds he empathises with the sparrow and, when he himself is forced to become a prostitute, he envisages himself as the bird, flying away from his troubles.
This is such a sad and wonderful book. The character of Jacob / Antiochus is written so sensitively that the reader really feels how he is forced to grow up and how hard his life is. I found the story moving and I want to know more about how it develops!… (mer)
pluckedhighbrow | 1 annan recension | May 25, 2023 |
An interesting read though I have to say I was completely thrown by how the story ends due to it's sexuality based paranormal/Gothic direction. That said, the mystical thing with the finger might have been the clue, but I honestly did not expect the outcome stated. The characters are interesting though and quite diverse and with some changes it might even have legs for adaptation to screen.
Jonathan5 | 7 andra recensioner | Feb 20, 2023 |



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