Back in print, Charles Portis’s brilliant ‘white comedy’ an unforgettable tale of secret societies, lost cities, and sacred texts.
Following last year’s enthusiastically received reissue of Charles Portis’s novels The Dog of the South and Norwood comes the republication of The Masters of Atlantis, the third in Overlook’s reissues of the novels of this American master. This unforgettable novel centers on Lamar Jimmerson, a man in the front ranks of the modern-day Gnomon Society, the international fraternal order dedicated to preserving the arcane wisdom of the lost city of Atlantis. Stationed in France in 1917, Jimmerson comes across a little book crammed with Atlantean puzzles, Egyptian riddles, and extended alchemical metaphors, the Codex Pappussaid to be the sacred Gnomonic text. Soon he is basking in the lore of lost Atlantis, convinced that his mission on earth is to administer and expand the ranks of this noble brotherhood. Taking us through the entire New Cycle of Gnomonismthrough the publication of Jimmerson’s own Gnomonic texts, through the scandalous schism that rocks the Gnomonic community, through Jimmerson’s disastrous bid for the governorship of Indiana, to the fateful gathering of Gnomons in a mobile-home park in East TexasMasters of Atlantis is a cockeyed journey into an America of misfits and con men, oddballs and innocents. It is quintessential Portis.
‘Much as I love Charles Portis’s other books, I believe Masters of Atlantis takes off even higher into the comic empyrean.’ Roy Blount, Jr.
’[Portis is] the least known great writer in America.’ Ron Rosenbaum, Esquire
Charles Portis lives in Arkansas, where he was born and educated. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. As a reporter, he wrote for the New York Herald-Tribune, and was also its London bureau chief. His first novel, Norwood, was published in 1966. His other novels are True Grit, The Dog of the South, and Gringos.