A History of the Imagination is a postmodern tale of adventure that reshapes the parameters of time and space, thought and action. In a metaphorical Africa, replete with nostalgia (but no dimensions), anything can happen and usually does. The narrator defends his magical departures, saying his is a history of possibilities, where fiction is "no less real for [it's] being so." But when Darwin's corpse begins to lust after Colette and the African porters go on strike because the author hasn't acknowledged the important role they play, we are left to wonder: just how far is reality from dreams?|
Norman Lock juxtaposes remote times and places, historical facts and literary fictions, to create an absurdist collage reminiscent of Guy Davenport and Donald Barthelme. In this world it is not impossible to sail from Mombasa to Cinncinati, or to set out from the City of Radiant Objects, where "things are free of the obligation to signify," or to go hunting icebergs in a quest to avenge the Titanic at last. Borne aloft by Wilbur Wright, Jules Verne, Ziegfield, and Houdini, we find ourselves lost again in a "seam in the world...between History and Imagination."