Tintin Meets the Dragon Queen in The Return of the Maya to Manhattan is a staggering work of imagination by a major force in experimental fiction.
“The amazing palaces and pyramids that crown the skyscrapers of southern Manhattan dance fraternally with Central American jungle pyramids, the ancient Maya dance with modern intellectuals, the games of the masses and the debates of the elite, Bourbon princesses and ancestral Maya princesses, in a word a literary Apocalypse in a dance! At the start of this novel I heard resonances of the later Henry James, and in the sections on Tintin, Lewis Carroll…worthy literary companions, without a doubt! But I would like to add Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs, which does not however detract in the slightest from the originality of Arias-Misson’s style. The novel provides rare literary enjoyment and is a source of serious and enigmatic meditation.”
—Ignacio Gomez de Liaño, distinguished philosopher of Spain and novelist, author of Iluminaciones and Extravias, recently of En la red del tiempo.
The narrator and a select team of real-life friends, eminent Spanish philosopher, Ignacio Gomez de Liaño, German shamanic artist/poet, Carlfriedrich Claus, Dada erudite, Parisian Marc Dachy and the sophisticated American novelist, Walter Abish, along with assorted cartoon figures, Tintin and Captain Haddock, investigate bizarre sightings of historic Maya personages and the apparition of ghostly Maya pyramids in the streets of Manhattan. They discover that the bloodcurdling Dragon Queen and her marauding, illegitimate, campy son and S&M mate, Smoking Rabbit, who introduced bloody “axe” warfare in the Petén Peninsula in the seventh century, are pushing through the time-boundaries of ancient Tikal. The legends and exploits of the latter are bizarrely paralleled in the marital mayhem of the dysfunctional New York couple, Augustus and his (maternal) spouse. Their risky voyage into the past climaxes with the deadly Maya ball-game, pok-a-tok, in which the captain of the losing team—loses his head! And the narrator’s romance with a Maya princess is doomed.
“Fusing cultural milieus continents and millennia apart, Alain Arias-Misson defies gravity as well as time and geography in this brilliant phantasmagorical novel. I was hanging on to my disorientation on every page of Augustus Sykey and his childhood cartoon sidekick Tintin’s thrilling odyssey through the ritual crimes and erotic depths of a Manhattan dreamscape.”
—William Niederkorn, writer, composer, artist, and man of the theatre
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