A Devil in Paradise by Henry Miller

By Henry Miller

“A ideal expression of Miller’s ethical viewpoint in addition to certainly one of his impressive demonstrations of narrative ability. It presents a superb cinematic view of 2 indomitable egotists in lethal conflict.” ―The Nation

The satan in Henry Miller’s immense Sur paradise is Conrad Moricand: “A pal of his Paris days, who, having been financed and taken over from Europe as an act of mercy by means of Mr. Miller, seems as exacting, sponging, evil, crafty and ungrateful a visitor as are available in modern literature. Mr. Miller has consistently been a awesome writer of personality. Conrad Moricand is perhaps his masterpiece. . . .A satan in Paradise is the paintings of a good novelist manqué, a novelist who has no stricter feel of shape than the divine author. . . .Fresh and intoxicating, humorous and relocating. . .” ―The occasions Literary Supplement (London)

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Even the “bohemians” were being routed out of their trenches. Amazing how many young intellectuals were already dislocated, dispossessed, already being pushed about like pawns in the service of their unknown masters. Every day I was receiving visits from the most unexpected individuals. There was only one question in every one’s mind: when? Meanwhile make the most of it! And we did, we who were hanging on till the last boat call. In this merry, devil-may-care atmosphere Moricand took no part. He was hardly the sort to invite for a festive evening which promised to end up in a brawl, a drunken stupor, or a visit from the police.

Now and then I would forget myself and give him a spate of English, soon arrested of course by his blank look. To translate these bursts was like sweating out a cold. If, as frequently happened, I had to explain something to my wife in English, he would pretend that he understood. She would do the same when he conveyed something confidential to me in French. Thus it happened that often the three of us were talking three different subjects, nodding, agreeing with one another, saying Yes when we meant No, and so on, until the confusion became so great that we all threw up our hands simultaneously.

It was true, he had good strong hands with spatulate fingers and well-kept nails, which were always polished. ” I asked. He looked so citified in his dark business suit. He had no old clothes, it turned out. Or rather he had the same good clothes which were neither new nor old. I noticed that he was eyeing me up and down with mild curiosity. I no longer owned a suit. I wore corduroy pants, a sweater with holes in it, somebody’s hand-me-down jacket, and sneakers. My slouch hat—the last I was to own—had ventilators all around the sweat band.

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