New York : Grosset & Dunlap, 1971. Hardcover. 365 pages ; 21 cm. $5.95 dust jacket. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
A CONSTELLATION OF HEROES
BY DAVID CORT
In his throbbing, sensuous novel, A Constellation of Heroes, David Cort employs astrology's gift to fiction—an insight into human behavior—to tell an unusual story, lustful and strangely symbolic, a story for this Age of Aquarius.
When the novel was first published nearly forty years ago as Give Us Heroes, it was called shocking and even "unduly mortal." Actually, it is more a tale for today, when its lustful fantasies and its astrological emphasis have found eager acceptance. Almost magically, its incidents and characters unite and separate to reveal the vital, complex and raw elements of human nature.
"Four thousand years ago," writes David Cort, "the witches and wizards of astrology divided mankind into twelve prototypes corresponding to the twelve months of the year and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Ever since then, they have been empirically testing and correcting these archetypes against observed humankind. The astrologers' work was, in fact, a free gift to novelists, sociologists and psychiatrists, a gift that has been largely ignored in literary works."
A Constellation of Heroes is the story of Adam Terrene and seven companions, embodiments of Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius, with a terminus in Pisces. Terrene represents human nature and his companions reflect phases in his development from age 18 through old age and death.
The young Adam is a gambler with life, bold, carefree and irresponsible. The book deals with his struggle to become a man while rebelling against the very process of his maturation. He experiences a love affair without commitment, a relationship with a sinister man, and then becomes involved in life's seamier side, before accepting the responsibility of manhood. We experience with Adam the passions and tragedies of his marriage, the intrigues of a business partnership haunted by the past, and follow him through life until, at death, comes Adam's understanding of what life has really meant.
The passions and intricate ironies of human existence are vividly revealed. And as it races on its erotic, voluptuous path, it builds its own fascinating balance between the realities of life and the fantasies of dreams.
David Cort enjoys a special and respected place in the American literary scene for his versatile skills. A former foreign editor of LIFE Magazine, literary critic, social essayist, short story writer and novelist, he is also a frequent contributor to leading newspapers and magazines. Among his books are collections of short stories, essays—among them, The Glossy Rats, published in 1967. In addition, Mr. Cort has written three other novels; his most recent work is a book of nonfiction, Revolution by Cliché.
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