Is it gothic fantasy, magic realism or a fabulist mystery? It's impossible to categorise. But at the heart of the story, beneath the vivid imagery and dreamlike atmosphere, full of wordplay and literary allusions, there is a beguiling meditation on the art of writing and the creative process itself.
'It is not the work itself, of course. Mr. Crowe's work - that is the work he has a part in - has never been other than luminous. There is no-one living or dead, in fact who has given us so much that is unquestionably fine. No, the work has never been in doubt, but he himself enjoys no distinction. He has - how might one put this? He has originated many of the most sacred works we have, and yet he has remained unacknowledged, except by those he aided'.
Fixing his fingernail on the corner of her page, Chastern turns it and draws it toward him. He reads the lines of 'Kubla Khan' with what appears to be dim amusement.
' "A person from Porlock", indeed. Yes, he has been nothing if not discreet. But did you never wonder, my dear, why there was not a single volume among all those in his library that bore his own name?'