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California Literary Review

The Importance of Henry Miller: A Letter From Father to Son

Non-Fiction Reviews

The Importance of Henry Miller: A Letter From Father to Son

Through this dark canopy of industrialism, greed and pollution certain small punctures have allowed minute shafts of light to shine on our cowering selves. Henry Miller is one of these rays of light.

To my son:

Over all of mankind a great dark shroud has descended. Through this dark canopy of industrialism, greed and pollution certain small punctures have allowed minute shafts of light to shine on our cowering selves. Henry Miller is one of these rays of light. His is not a kind sweet illumination, as with the flowers and butterflies of Krishnamurti but the brutal humorous indictment of the angry surgeon.

Raised on the true mean streets of Brooklyn instead of a broad, warm, fatted belly of a loving mother, he developed an indefatigable ability to constantly scream that the king wore no clothes. Progress, technology, religious pedantry all are fair game for his unclouded vision.

While our traditional heroes, political leaders, pompous religious fascists welcome modern advancements of technology, presenting these Frankenstein monsters to our daughters, Miller made the call to arms.

Naturally all his works were immediately banned, along with Lawrence, Celine and Reich. The festering infection of modern industrial tyranny shrank from any antibiotic of truth.

No kids, Dennis Miller didn’t invent the rant. Henry Miller’s rambling style has always been there for us. His quixotic self-contradicting manner has always been a monkey wrench in the machinery of the logical mind.

Miller has always been considered to be the high priest of smut and filth. A majority of his works have had to fight to be allowed into English speaking countries. Alas, our loss!

So my son, we should welcome Miller to our homes and heart. His style of writing makes his books a veritible I Ching, which can be opened and read randomly. They will be welcome reassurance of our deepest thoughts that everything isn’t alright in the world. In fact everything is fucking horrible. Soulless monsters are in power everywhere. TV tries to convince us with cartoon ads that oil companies and tobacco demons are striving for a “better America” where all of us will eventually drive SUVs and spread our dark wasteland lifestyle to all corners of the earth.

Wake up you idiots! Henry Miller is an alarm clock clanging on the nightstand. He’s making a titanic effort to open our glued eyelids and show us that Armageddon wears a three-piece suit.

Or…relax, everything’s fine. I saw it on TV. Seen one redwood, seen ’em all. We can always build an enormous plastic bubble over our city and eat genetically engineered food and caress silicon breasts and get a prescription for antibiotics and…

Love,

Dad

Leo Gurnoe to his son Tony

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