Review From User :
My favorite Portis, I think. Such perfect command of tone: stone-face deadpan treatment of screwball-nutty material, like the prose equivalent of a Buster Keaton film. The nominal subject is cults and secret societies, but that's just Portis' entry point into the same kind of earnest eccentrics that all his novels are about. These kooks' behavior is presented totally matter-of-factly. This book is so hilarious. Was there a 20th century fiction writer funnier than Portis I'm failing at writing an interesting review, so I'll just reproduce one of the many LOL-worthy passages. The context of this is that a hack writer has been hired to write the biography of protag Lammar Jimmerson, leader of the Gnomon Society, and Jimmerson (isn't that a hilarious name) is none too happy with the liberties taken by the biographer:
'Corpulent genius' was fair enough. 'Viselike grip' was good. It was pleasing to see his oyster eyes described as 'two live coals.' The fellow had a touch, all right, but how had he come up with such things as 'the absolute powers of a Sultan' and 'the sacred macaws of Tamputocco' and 'Peruvian metals unknown to science' and 'the Master awash in his oversize bathtub' and 'likes to work with young people' and 'a spray of spittle' Why was he, Lamar Jimmerson, who never raised his voice, shown to be expressing opinions he had never held in such an exclamatory way that droplets of saliva flew from his lips
Peruvian metals unknown to science.
Found a good review here http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/... from which I will also quote:
In his earlier books, specifically the first two, Portis's main characters are guided by what strikes me as a distinctly American brand of optimism and up-by-your-bootstraps tenacity. Masters of Atlantis, then, is about what happens when those same qualities are misguided, or manipulated by delusional hucksters, or both. At any rate, our story is under way, and it is told in a cool, unwavering deadpan that establishes vast chasms of irony as events become more preposterous, beginning with the arrival of Austin Popper, Mr. Jimmerson's on-again off-again spokesman and, without question, one of American literature's most hilarious creations.
Truth. Read this thing.
Category: Adults, Historical Fiction, Humor, Novel
Stationed in France in 1917, Lamar Jimmerson comes across a little book crammed with Atlantean puzzles, Egyptian riddles, and extended alchemical metaphors. It’s the Codex Pappus – the sacred Gnomon text. Soon he is basking in the lore of lost Atlantis, convinced that his mission on earth is to extend the ranks of this noble brotherhood. He forms the Gnomon Society, an international fraternal order dedicated to preserving that lost city’s arcane wisdom.