Egan, Beresford - Pollen
The progress of the cultivated decadent.
Cynicism takes effort. When it is unfashionable, the cynic is despised, or worse, pitied. When it becomes fashionable, the cynic becomes “mainstream” and, chances are, despises himself.
Rebellion, in the long game, is highly overrated.
Lancelot Daurimer, idler, stunted painter, casual spendthrift, finds himself low on resources, ambition, any sort of possibilities, actually.
He “rents” rooms from Anna Beryl (Cleontine) who is older, more experienced, to be blunt, out of his league.
Lance, though a reprobate, possesses the grace of the predator which, from the time of Caesar, is beguiling to women.
While drawn to Cleontine, he targets Lady Marylyn, young, innocent, shielded by middle class conventionality. Targets her and decides to ruin her, to rot her from within.
Pollen is a delicious, dissolute pleasure. Manners and situations feel like a cross between the fin de siècle of the 1890’s and the bankrupt carcass of the Jazz Age just before the Great Depression.
Egan comes across as the bastard nephew of Oscar Wilde, and I mean that as a compliment.
His wordplay is impeccable and engaging. The book is an extremely fast read, propelling the reader in a galloping rush.
Additional pleasure comes from several illustrations by Mr. Egan.
The most discouraging aspect of Pollen was that It was written in all of three months, which leaves me dumbfounded.