A Case of Curiosities

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug 10, 2001 - Fiction - 384 pages
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In France, on the eve of the Revolution, a young man named Claude Page sets out to become the most ingenious and daring inventor of his time. In the course of a career filled with violence and passion, Claude learns the arts of enameling and watchmaking from an irascible, defrocked abbé, apprentices himself to a pornographic bookseller, and applies his erotic erudition to the seduction of the wife of an impotent wigmaker. But it is Claude's greatest device-a talking mechanical head-that both crowns his career and leads to an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and far more bizarre.

Hailed by critics for the shimmering brilliance of its inventions and its uncanny fidelity to the textures of the past, A Case of Curiosities places

Allen Kurzweil securely in the ranks of the finest literary artists of our time.


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A case of curiosities

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The narrator buys a box of randomly assembled objects at a Paris auction. It is a life box, the memento hominem of Claude Page, an extraordinarily gifted 18th-century French clockmaker with a passion ... Read full review

Selected pages


I The Jar
II The Nautilus
III The Morel
IIII The Lay Figure
V The Pearl
VI The Linnet
VII The Watch
VIII The Bell
IX The Button
X The Empty Compartment
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About the author (2001)

Allen Kurzweil was named a "Best Young American Novelist" by Granta for A Case of Curiosities, his first novel. He has been the recipient of Guggenheim and Fullbright Fellowships, and a 1999 Fellow of the New York Public Library for Scholars and Writers. His fiction has been honored in the United States, France, Italy, and Ireland. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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