Cox: or, The Course of Time (The Seagull Library of German Literature) (Paperback)

Cox: or, The Course of Time (The Seagull Library of German Literature) By Christoph Ransmayr, Simon Pare (Translated by) Cover Image
By Christoph Ransmayr, Simon Pare (Translated by)
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Richly imagined and recounted in vivid prose of extraordinary beauty, this book is a stunning illustration of Ransmayr’s talent for imbuing a captivating tale with intense metaphorical, indeed metaphysical force.

The world’s most powerful man, Qiánlóng, emperor of China, invites the famous eighteenth-century clockmaker Alister Cox to his court in Beijing. There, in the heart of the Forbidden City, the Englishman and his assistants are to build machines that mark the passing of time as a child or a condemned man might experience it and that capture the many shades of happiness, suffering, love, and loss that come with that passing.

Mystified by the rituals of a rigidly hierarchical society dominated by an unimaginably wealthy, god-like ruler, Cox musters all his expertise and ingenuity to satisfy the emperor’s desires. Finally, Qiánlóng, also known by the moniker Lord of Time, requests the construction of a clock capable of measuring eternity—a perpetuum mobile. Seizing this chance to realize a long-held dream and honor the memory of his late beloved daughter, yet conscious of the impossibility of his task, Cox sets to work. As the court is suspended in a never-ending summer, festering with evil gossip about the monster these foreigners are creating, the Englishmen wonder if they will ever escape from their gilded cage. More than a meeting of two men, one isolated by power, the other by grief, this is an exploration of mortality and a virtuoso demonstration that storytelling alone can truly conquer time.

About the Author

Christoph Ransmayr is an Austrian author whose books have been translated into more than thirty languages. His prodigious travels provided the material for Atlas of an Anxious Man, and his novel The Flying Mountain, both published by Seagull Books.

Simon Pare is a translator from French and German living near Zurich.

Praise For…

"Time is naturally Ransmayr’s plaything in this tale, which in Simon Pare’s whisper-quiet translation from the German calls to mind Orhan Pamuk’s charming historical contraptions. The novel explores the way that excitement can cause it to race, boredom to stretch and slow it down, grief to bring it to a halt. . . . [A] quicksilver fantasy."
— Wall Street Journal
Product Details
ISBN: 9781803090405
ISBN-10: 1803090405
Publisher: Seagull Books
Publication Date: August 5th, 2022
Pages: 280
Series: The Seagull Library of German Literature