The Jade Cabinet
Author: Rikki Ducornet
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (1997)
Made speechless by her eccentric father, the beautiful Etheria is traded for a piece of precious jade. Memory, her sister, tells her story, that of a childhood enlivened by Lewis Carroll and an orangutan named Dr. Johnson and envenomed by the pernicious courtship of Radulph Tubbs, Queen Victoria's own Dragon of Industry. The novel travels from Oxford to Egypt where one million ibis mummies wait to be transformed into fertilizer, where Baconfield the architect will cause a pyramid to collapse, and where a scorned and bloated hunger artist who speaks in tongues will plot a bloody revenge. The fourth element in a tetralogy of novels—Earth (The Stain), Fire (Entering Fire), Water (The Fountains of Neptune) and Air—The Jade Cabinet is both a riveting novel and a reflection on the nature of memory and desire, language and power. Following the novel is an afterword, "Waking to Eden," in which Ducornet reflects on the sources for her writing and on the quartet of novels completed by The Jade Cabinet.