But by the time you’ve explored the many forms (physical and metaphysical) of Unleaving, spent time with various incarnations of Ashes, and seen just what Margaret could become after childhood’s left behind, it shouldn’t be all that hard to show a little patience with her adolescent uncertainties, plus subplots and further arcane references. And the payoff is immense. I finished Cloud & Ashes almost tempted to write a thesis that compares it favorably to what James Joyce did in Ulysses and tried in Finnegan’s Wake, yet feeling like I’d lived through it all.
You can also read Greer’s Locus interview in the August issue:
“Many people have used ballads as sources of literary fantasy. I use ballads, but in shreds and patches, along with things I’ve read, word etymologies, a lot of dialect — my writing is both folk and baroque. I’ve got these great slabs of rhapsody and blots of vernacular. I think I use a fairly low percentage of Norman French-Latinate English, simply because I love the old root stock of the language. There are a scattering of words in my books I’ve made up on models from root stock. I love words passionately! (Maybe I should have been a philologist.) I discovered the Oxford English Dictionary at college, and spent all my time in the English students’ lounge reading their copy.