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In 1939, after ten years as an expatriate, Henry Miller returned to the United States with a keen desire to see what his native land was really like -- to get to the roots of the American nature and experience. He set out on a journey that was to last for three years, visiting many sections of the country and making friends of all descriptions. "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" is the result of that odyssey.
Like the ancient colossus that stood over the harbor of Rhodes, Henry Miller's The Colossus of Maroussi stands as a seminal classic in travel literature. It has preceded the footsteps of prominent travel writers such as Pico Iyer and Rolf Potts. The book Miller would later cite as his favorite began with a young woman's seductive description of Greece. Miller headed out with his friend Lawrence Durrell to explore the Grecian countryside: a flock of sheep nearly tramples the two as they lie naked on a beach; the Greek poet Katsmbalis, the colossus of Miller's book, stirs every rooster within earshot of the Acropolis with his own loud crowing; cold hard-boiled eggs are warmed in a village's single stove, and they stay in hotels that have seen better days, but which have an aroma of the past.
The Solitude of Compassion, a collection of short stories never before available in English, won popular acclaim when it was originally published in France in 1932. It tells of small-town life in Provence, drawing on a whole village of fictional characters, often warm and decent, at times immoral and coarse. Giono writes of a friendship forged in a battlefield trench in the midst of World War I; an old man's discovery of the song of the world; and, in the title story, the not-unrelated feelings of compassion and pity. In these twenty stories, Giono reveals his marvelous storytelling through his vivid images and lyrical prose, whether he is conveying the delicate scents of lavender and pine trees or the smells of damp earth and fresh blood.
An American expatriate, Henry Miller, describes his life in France where he has a knack for drinking and meeting women but is poor.
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