The Cosmology of the Wider World
Jeffrey's Ford's extraordinary fantasy novella, The Cosmology of the Wider World, is a beast epic, a talking animal story in the vein of The Jungle Books and The Wind in the Willows; but this is no ordinary fable. The protagonist, Belius, is a minotaur, a wanderer in strange labyrinths of the mind and body, and his story features sex, drugs and a healthy dose of pyrotechnic metaphysical profundity. There's murder too, an instance of bestiality, and quite a few references to Dante's Inferno...
From his coral tower in the other-dimensional refuge of the Wider World, Belius thinks back on his days in the lesser world of men, where he was born, a shocking anomaly, to a farming couple. His great philosophical work, The Cosmology, is at a standstill, and he realizes he cannot proceed with the book until he comes to terms with his halfling nature: one foot in the human world, one hoof in the animal.
While his friends – Vashti, the owl, and Pezimote, a philandering tortoise – try to help him achieve peace of mind, Belius recalls scenes from his previous life, interspersed with the daily tribulations of the Wider World…via a love story, a literal and figurative inner journey, a bloodletting, a haunting by a ghostly apparition, a bet, a blinding, a prophecy, an act of creation, and an act of climactic destruction, he must come at last to a mad revelation of self.
The Cosmology of the Wider World is an exceptional feat of fantastic characterization and style, a story timelessly mythic yet dazzlingly contemporary.
Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, and The Shadow Year. His short story collections are The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, Crackpot Palace, and A Natural History of Hell. Ford’s short fiction has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. Both books and stories have been translated into nearly 20 languages worldwide. Ford is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, Nebula, Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Hayakawa Award, and Gran Prix de l’Imaginaire. He lives in Ohio in a hundred and twenty year old farm house surrounded by corn and soybean fields and teaches part time at Ohio Wesleyan University.