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A Pretty Mouth Paperback – October 1, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Praise for A Pretty Mouth:

"All too infrequently do I encounter a new voice as delightful, compelling, and intelligent as that of Molly Tanzer. Or, for that matter, an author with such a range. But here, in A Pretty Mouth, is that shining gem that keeps me sorting through the rubble. If this is only the beginning of her work, I can hardly wait to see where she's headed!" --CAITLIN R. KIERNAN, author of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

"A Pretty Mouth is a fine and stylish collection that pays homage to the tradition of the weird while blazing its own sinister mark. Tanzer's debut is as sharp and polished as any I've seen." --LAIRD BARRON, author of The Croning

"If Hieronymus Bosch and William Hogarth had together designed a Fabergé egg, the final result could not be more beautifully and deliciously perverse than what awaits the readers of A Pretty Mouth. Molly Tanzer's first novel is a witty history of the centuries-long exploits of one joyfully corrupt Calipash dynasty, a family both cursed and elevated by darkness of the most squamous sort. This is a sly and sparkling jewel of a book, and I can't recommend it enough--get A Pretty Mouth in your hands or tentacles, post-haste, and prepare to be shocked, charmed, and (somewhat moistly) entertained!" --LIVIA LLEWELLYN, author of Engines of Desire

"Molly Tanzer is a prose Edward Gorey, decadent, delicious, and ever so slightly mad." --NATHAN LONG, author of Jane Carver of Waar

"This is form and content and diction and tone and imagination all looking up at the exact same moment: When Molly Tanzer claps once at the front of the classroom." --STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of The Last Final Girl

"Had the nineteenth century really been like this--with the flounces and corsets and blood and tentacles and whatnot--we'd all be dead by now. Un- lucky us, but lucky you, Dear Reader, as you are alive to read this book." --NICK MAMATAS, author of Bullettime

"The stories and short novel in Molly Tanzer's impressive debut collection move steadily backwards through English history, from an Edwardian resort to a Roman encampment, stopping on the way for the nineteenth, eighteenth, and seventeenth centuries, all in the interest of tracing the main trunk of the notorious Calipash family tree all the way to its roots. It's a family linemarked by its excesses of sensuality, cruelty, and sorcery, and in excerpting the exploits of its storied members, Tanzer demonstrates her facility with a variety of voices and styles, from Wodehousian farce to Victorian erotica to Restoration class comedy. Each of the narratives collected here stands and succeeds on its own terms, but taken together, they add to a whole greater than the sum of its parts, in which the recurrence of key motifs in a diversity of settings creates the sense of a family living out its doom generation after generation. Tanzer is an ambitious writer, and she is talented enough for her ambition to matter." --JOHN LANGAN, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

"A Pretty Mouth is many things; erudite, hilarious, profane, moving, learned, engaging, horrific, terrifying, and profound. Molly moves through the multi-forms of prose like a shark in wine-dark seas, rife with allusion, deep in emotion, and sometimes giving you a little salty-mouth. A fantastic collection and not one to be missed." --JOHN HORNOR JACOBS, author of This Dark Earth

"Molly Tanzer's A Pretty Mouth is a spectacular book, rad and weird and fun. With winks to P. G. Wodehouse, Robert E. Howard and the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, it showcases the work of a woman who delights in writing. She writes very well indeed! This is a book I will return to, for to read it is such a naughty pleasure." --W. H. PUGMIRE, author of The Twisted Muse

"I am a bit bashful about being titillated by Molly Tanzer's naughty debut, A Pretty Mouth, but I must admit it in order to write this blurb. While having segments that are hot and sexy, it is also a dark and disturbing tale with a wicked sense of humor and compelling chracaters. I blush just thinking about it and might have to go read it again!" --ALAN M. CLARK, author of A Parliament of Crows and Of Thimble and Threat: The Life of a Ripper Victim

"It's been repeatedly said we're enjoying in a new golden age of weird and fantastic fiction. We are, and this lady is one the gifted magicians whose literary creations are keeping the bonfire burning brightly!" --JOSEPH S. PULVER, SR., author of The Orphan Palace

"Tanzer lifts the skirts of Victorian hypocrisy for a full Monty view of perverted hijinks and fun." --MARIO ACEVEDO, author of Werewolf Smackdown
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Lazy Fascist Press (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621050505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621050506
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Molly Tanzer is the Sydney J. Bounds and Wonderland Book Award-nominated author of A Pretty Mouth (Lazy Fascist, 2012), Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations (Egaeus, 2013), Vermilion (Word Horde, 2015), and The Pleasure Merchant (forthcoming, Lazy Fascist 2015). She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and a very bad cat. When not writing, she enjoys mixing cocktails, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, experimenting with Korean cooking, and (as of recently) training for triathlons. She tweets @molly_the_tanz, and blogs--infrequently--at http://mollytanzer.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Bullington on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Molly Tanzer's stunningly original debut is unlike any tome you've ever encountered. Part reverse genealogy, part novel, part collection, part pastiche, it manages to be wholly original, by turns decadent, hilarious, erotic, and sinister. Imagine John Hughes directing an adaptation of a Gothic novel starring a young Rob Lowe opposite a younger Jeffrey Combs, or Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard cutting loose and collaborating on a picaresque, or Black Adder as envisioned by Roald Dahl, Angela Carter, Edward Gorey, and P.G. Wodehouse on an absinthe-bender, and you're only scratching the surface of the weirdest, most audacious work to come down the pike in many a strange aeon. For fans of historical fiction, Victorian pornography, Mythos horror, Tom Jones, sword-and-sandal epics, Jeeves and Wooster, the poetry of John Wilmot, and boys' school romps, *this* is the book you've been waiting for!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. P. Miskowski on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
My first encounter with Molly Tanzer's delightful fiction occurred at the 2011 World Horror Convention, where Tanzer read an excerpt from "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins." This cleverly cockeyed story of inappropriate devotion between 18th century aristocratic siblings first appeared in the Innsmouth Free Press anthology Historical Lovecraft. It was soon reprinted in The Book of Cthulhu (Night Shade Books). Around the same time Cameron Pierce at Lazy Fascist Press invited Tanzer to turn the growing history of one peculiar family into a book. The result is A Pretty Mouth, and I haven't had this much pure, crazy fun reading a work of fiction in a long time.

For anyone looking for a good read, this is it. Tanzer knows how to tell a tale. The pacing is expert and the characters are immediately engaging. A Pretty Mouth is definitely a page-turner. Yet each period Tanzer recreates is specific and wildly vivid. Nothing is tossed off. The underlying foundation for the book is a solid grasp of history, language, and philosophy. So the more you know of British history and the more classics you have read, the more fun you will have.

The book is comprised of four short stories and a novella. Each tale is set in a different era and may be read and enjoyed separately. Together they form a substantial arc, revealing hundreds of years of strange (often supernaturally strange) behavior among the highborn Calipashes. The mysterious origin of the family curse is withheld until the last story, creating dramatic suspense while the author traces several generations in reverse chronological order.

"A Spotted Trouble at Dolor-on-the-Downs" takes place in Edwardian England at the Marine Vivarium, a resort hotel catering to the whims of the aristocracy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven C. Sweere on July 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I enjoyed the story, occasionally a character would use contemporary language that simply didn't fit in the timeframe, pulling me out of the story and wondering why she didn't try to come up with something more fitting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Juushika on March 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
In four short stories and a novella, A Pretty Mouth traces the long and sordid history of the Calipash family, renown for their incestuous and demonic tendencies. It's a tongue-in-cheek Lovecraftian pastiche (with more emphasis on tentacles than cosmic horror), but Tanzer writes is skill and a distinctive, flexible voice. She engages the gothic genre, signature Lovecraftian tropes such as the apocalyptic log, and dozens of historical quirks and clichés with the fondness that marks her Lovecraftian pastiche--it's incisive and lascivious parody, but it's parody which loves its subject matter. The collection begs something like a family tree or framing narrative; the in-character author's note provides some overarching structure, but it's too little too late at the end of the book. And while this is my favorite brand of parody, I confess I'm not one for humor: in the end I wanted something less clever and more substantial. Nonetheless, A Pretty Mouth is a delight: distinctive, as flagrant as incisive, and difficult to put down. I have some caveats but I recommend it, and I look forward to more from Tanzer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Orrin Grey on October 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been waiting (im)patiently for this book ever since I first read "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins" in draft form back before it appeared in Historical Lovecraft. Even back then I knew that the story was too good to be the only tale out there of the debased and demented Calipash family, and now, at last, more of their stories can be told!

Part novel, part short story collection, part genealogy of the cursed Calipash family, Molly Tanzer effortlessly shifts gears from Wodehouse parody to sword-and-sandal epic, and from ribald comedy to gruesome horror to titillating smut, all without ever losing her fantastic authorial voice. This delightfully unclassifiable debut is one of the finest books I've read in years, and is like nothing else you've ever read, I promise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pterodactyl Samurai on September 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
A Pretty Mouth proves that Molly Tanzer is no novice at the fiction craft. With a voice that only gets stronger as she delves back into the Calipash lineage, she uses the twisted tale of a cursed gene which manifests in a diabolical twin-set every few decades to showcase her many literary talents.

The result is a book that could be called historical, romantic, Wodehousian, Lovecraftian, Victorian, Brontian, pornographic, bizarre or just plain Tanzerian.

An unprecedented success, a delightful nightmare, a spectacular debut.
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