“Ka is a beautiful, often dreamlike late masterpiece.” —Los Angeles Times
“One of our country’s absolutely finest novelists.” —Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author of Interior Darkness and Ghost Story
From award-winning author John Crowley comes an exquisite fantasy novel about a man who tells the story of a crow named Dar Oakley and his impossible lives and deaths in the land of Ka.
A Crow alone is no Crow.
Dar Oakley—the first Crow in all of history with a name of his own—was born two thousand years ago. When a man learns his language, Dar finally gets the chance to tell his story. He begins his tale as a young man, and how he went down to the human underworld and got hold of the immortality meant for humans, long before Julius Caesar came into the Celtic lands; how he sailed West to America with the Irish monks searching for the Paradise of the Saints; and how he continuously went down into the land of the dead and returned. Through his adventures in Ka, the realm of Crows, and around the world, he found secrets that could change the humans’ entire way of life—and now may be the time to finally reveal them.
This unusual narrative from Crowley (Totalitopia) ostensibly consists primarily of the recollections of a long-lived crow who's capable of communicating with humans, one of whom named him Dar Oakley. Crowley cleverly grounds the book with a prologue recounted by an unnamed narrator in a near-future world on the verge of collapse from climate change; he recently lost his wife and is "mortally sick in more than body" himself. The widower finds Dar Oakley, who is also not in good shape, in his backyard, and takes him inside to care for him, even as he wonders at the irrational futility of trying to save an individual life in a world full of ones needing rescuing. In time, Dar Oakley teaches his language to his savior and recounts his experiences in Ka, the realm of crows, and how they led him to enter the human world, Ymr. It's never clear whether the human lead merely imagines all of Dar Oakley's reminiscences, but this ambiguity sustains, rather than lessens, the reader's engagement with Dar Oakley's stories.
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Amazed and Delighted!
John Crowley created something truly beautiful; I’m amazed and delighted.