A Devil in Paradise by Henry Miller

By Henry Miller

“A ideal expression of Miller’s ethical viewpoint in addition to one among his striking demonstrations of narrative ability. It offers a superb cinematic view of 2 indomitable egotists in lethal conflict.” ―The Nation

The satan in Henry Miller’s great Sur paradise is Conrad Moricand: “A buddy of his Paris days, who, having been financed and taken over from Europe as an act of mercy through Mr. Miller, seems as exacting, sponging, evil, crafty and ungrateful a visitor as are available in modern literature. Mr. Miller has consistently been a amazing author of personality. Conrad Moricand is perhaps his masterpiece. . . .A satan in Paradise is the paintings of an outstanding novelist manqué, a novelist who has no stricter experience of shape than the divine author. . . .Fresh and intoxicating, humorous and relocating. . .” ―The occasions Literary Supplement (London)

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I wore corduroy pants, a sweater with holes in it, somebody’s hand-me-down jacket, and sneakers. My slouch hat—the last I was to own—had ventilators all around the sweat band. “One doesn’t need clothes here,” I remarked. ” he exclaimed. ” Later that morning, as he was shaving, he asked if I didn’t have some talcum powder. “Of course,” I said, and handed him the can I used. ” he asked. ” He gave me a strange, half-girlish, half-guilty smile. “I can’t use anything but Yardley. ” Suddenly it seemed as if the ground opened under my feet.

But it was the kind of talk that does not go with food, the kind that makes food indigestible. There was an odor about him which I could not help but be aware of. It was a mélange of bay rum, wet ashes and tabac gris, tinctured with a dash of some elusive, elegant perfume. Later these would resolve themselves into one unmistakable scent—the aroma of death. I had already been introduced to astrologic circles before meeting Moricand. And in Eduardo Sanchez, a cousin of Anaïs Nin, I had found a man of immense erudition, who, on the advice of his analyst, had taken up astrology therapeutically, so to speak.

It was a dual pleasure I enjoyed whenever we came together—the pleasure of receiving instruction (not only in astrology) and the pleasure of listening to a musician, for he used the language much as a musician would his instrument. In addition there was the thrill of listening to personal anecdotes about celebrities whom I knew only through books. In brief, I was an ideal listener. And for a man who loves to talk, for a monologist especially, what greater pleasure could there be for him than in having an attentive, eager, appreciative listener?

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