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A Pretty Mouth Paperback – October 1, 2012


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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: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,221,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

More About the Author

Molly Tanzer lives in Boulder, Colorado along the front range of the Mountains of Madness, or maybe just the Flatirons. Her work has appeared in, among other venues, The Book of Cthulhu (vols. 1 and 2), Future Lovecraft, and Running with the Pack, and is forthcoming in Fungi and The Starry Wisdom Library. She blogs--infrequently--about hiking, vegan cooking, movies, exercise, and other stuff at http://mollytanzer.com, and she tweets as @molly_the_tanz.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Fun stuff - a highly enjoyable read.
Paul Cardullo
The audacity of introducing these characters to assist in a Wodehouse-worthy situation is matched perfectly by Tanzer's facility with prose style.
S. P. Miskowski
A Pretty Mouth, the title novella, is perhaps the best piece in the collection.
Justin Steele

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 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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9 of 9 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gina Marie Guadagnino on September 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wicked, knowing, clever, allusive, Molly Tanzer's collection peels back centuries of England's history and literature as it traces the origins of the Calipash family. Each story introduces readers to an older incarnation of the Calipash twins, whose evil, demented, and frequently erotic agenda merely becomes more twisted through the ages. Tanzer plays with voice and perspective, evoking, among others, Wodehouse, Bronte, and of course Lovecraft as she uses an impressive array of literary styles to bring each new era to life. By turns horrific and humorous, devious and delightful, A Pretty Mouth will give its readers all manner of shivers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Originally appeared on my blog, The Arkham Digest

This is easily one of the most entertaining books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Like most weird fiction authors, Molly Tanzer first caught my attention with her short fiction. I read her original tale of the debauched Calipash family and quite frankly, I was an instant fan. A Pretty Mouth is Tanzer's first collection, and what a first collection it is.

A Pretty Mouth is a reverse, incomplete history of the Calipash family. Within it's pages are four short stories (two of which have been previously published elsewhere) and a long novella. Every story present can easily stand alone, but when strung together they paint a twisted picture of the Calipashes over the centuries.

A quick look at the stories:

The collection opens with an original, A Spotted Trouble At Dolor-On-The-Downs, in which Tanzer takes the character of Reginald Jeeves (the butler/manservant created by author P.H. Wodehouse) and places him in the middle of a sticky conundrum. While vacationing at Dolor-On-The-Downs, a seaside resort, Jeeves's employer Wooster comes into contact with an old school mate, Alastair Fitzroy, the twenty-seventh Lord Calipash. What follows is an unfortunate turn of events in which Jeeves is forced into the service of Fitzroy. The story, like every story in the collection, is a weird tale through and through, but tinged with enough hilarity to really make it something special.

Tanzer follows with The Hour of The Tortoise (originally appearing in The Book of Cthulhu II).
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