“A work of extraordinary political consciousness, predicated upon the longing savagely to corrode, or better yet, explode the foundations of a world of wage slavery and commercial empires. . . . Like Notes from Underground, it is a novel ambitious of being more than a novel.” Peter Anderson, Boston Review
Or, This Gentile World
978-0-8021-3372-4 • $12.00 • Paperback • Sep. 1993
In this, his first extant novel, Henry Miller made his earliest full-fledged attempt at autobiographical fiction, a literary form he was later to perfect in Paris.
Uncovered along with Crazy Cock in 1988 by Miller biographer Mary V. Dearborn, Moloch emerged from the misery of Miller’s years at Western Union and from the squalor of his first marriage. Set in the rapidly changing New York City of the early twenties, its hero is the rough-and-tumble Dion Moloch, a man filled with anger and despair. Trapped in a demeaning job, oppressed by an acrimonious homelife, Moloch escapes to the streets only to be assaulted by a world he despises even more—a Brooklyn transformed into a shrill medley of ethnic sights, sounds, and smells. The antagonized Moloch strikes out blindly at everything he hates, battling against a world whose hostility threatens to overwhelm and destroy him.
Brutal and shocking, sometimes awkward and rambling, Moloch displays Miller’s first steps toward the motif that he was to make his hallmark: the scathingly direct hero striving for an unflinching view of himself in a world created out of the writer’s life.