Cartoons that draw their creator into another world; demonic paintings that exert a sinister influence on our own. Fairy tales that express the secret losses and anxieties of their tellers. These are the elements that Steven Millhauser employs to such marvelous--and often disquieting--effect in Little Kingdoms, a collection whose three novellas suggest magical companion pieces to his acclaimed longer fictions.
In "The Little Kingdom of J. Franklin Payne," a gentle eccentric constructs an elaborate alternate universe that is all the more appealing for being transparently unreal. "The Princess, the Dwarf, and the Dungeon" is at once a gothic tale of nightmarish jealousy and a meditation on the human need for exaltation and horror. And "Catalogue of the Exhibition" introduces us to the oeuvre of Edmund Moorash, a Romantic painter who might have been imagined by Nabokov or Poe. Exuberantly inventive, as mysterious as dreams, these novellas will delight, mesmerize, and transport anyone who reads them.
About the Author
Steven Millhauser was born in 1943 in New York City, and grew up in Connecticut. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1965, and went on to pursue a doctorate in English at Brown University. He never completed his dissertation, but did complete a novel that was eventually published in a pared-down form under the title "From the Realm of Morpheus-as well as Edwin Mullhouse." However, it was for his stories that Millhauser became best known; immaculately written, curiously vivid, they trod on fantastic boards in a manner reminiscent of Poe or Borges, but with a distinctively American voice. After "In the Penny Arcade," Millhauser's collections continued with "The Barnum Museum" (1990), "Little Kingdoms" (1993), and "The Knife Thrower and Other Stories" (1998). Steven Millhauser lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, and teaches at Skidmore College.
"Millhauser's writing is dazzling." —David Leavitt, Esquire
"Millhauser makes our world turn amazing!"—The New York Times Book Review
"An American writer of surpassing skill.... He renders the impossible itself with precision." —Chicago Tribune