(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

These novels amply reward reading and rereading. Their structural details magnificently contribute to the experience of a story that is never completely told, only implied. The narrative is in third person, shifting among several characters and always unreliable, leaving much to delight a careful reader. Upon rereading, one discovers that seemingly unrelated episodes are, in fact, closely intertwined. This is apparent in the juxtaposition of narratives about the early 1580’s and later 1970’s and those concerning the lives of Giordano Bruno and Pierce Moffett.

There are many reviews of John Crowley’s books but few critical articles about Crowley himself, although he has been many times nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards (which he won for Little, Big in 1981) and the American Book Award (for which he was nominated for Engine Summer in 1979 and which he won for Little, Big in 1981).

His later novels are different in tone from Little, Big but share ideas with that book. Little, Big also plays off the city of New York and the Catskills, but where that novel validates a magical dimension to the universe, grounded in Rosicrucians and Theosophists, the Aegypt novels sidestep the question while maintaining the tension. These three novels offer a more sobering and intellectual reading experience that amply repays a reader’s attention but also demands much more of it....

(The entire section is 585 words.)