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City of Saints and Madmen Paperback – February 28, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
VanderMeer's Ambergris is easily the most lavish and enticing fantastic world that I've yet to encounter. Articulating the brilliance of this book would require writing skills on a par with VanderMeer himself. I can only point to the book and insist that it is excellent. Truly excellent.
Taken by themselves, the stories are small gems...but when looked at as a whole, as part of the wonderful Ambergrisian tapestry, they become more than the sum of their parts. I anguished with the title character in 'Dradin in Love' as he realizes that his passionate longing for a mysterious woman is unlikely to be consummated. The fascinating history of Ambergris as told in 'The Hoegbotton Guide to Ambergris by Duncan Shriek' is surely one of the most complete histories of a fictional world ever conceived. The World Fantasy Award Winning 'The Transformation of Martin Lake' tells the amazing story of a humble artist who is transformed into a master through a harrowing and bizarre experience. Finally, 'The Strange Case of X' blurs the lines between fantasy and reality as an author whose life appears analogous to VanderMeer's undergoes rigorous questioning concerning the substance of reality.
Under VanderMeer's watchful eye, Ambergris is a thriving and exotic landscape. I devoured this collection in a matter of hours. Hungry for more I jumped onto the internet and searched out more VanderMeer.Read more ›
In addition, the book is gorgeous! It is filled with wonderful illustrations, great design, and interesting typography.
What else do you get? How about a story on the dust jacket? How about a story written in code? Cool stuff.
In short, stunning.
Did I mention this is a print-on-demand title? This means the book is printed as it's ordered (well, maybe not every time, maybe every 50 or so) but it's a totally different printing process than standard books. No plates. That makes the layout of the book staggering!
Did I mention that the writing is amazing?
Buy this book. Buy several copies of this book and give it to friends.
Don't miss out.
That's too bad, because half-hidden beneath this obtuse, strangely skeletal, self-satisfied wreck of a book are five juicy little stories, nuggets of unmitigated grue and wonder that Vandermeer has clearly invested his mind and imagination and soul. The stories suggest a writer with tremendous promise and some magic in his keyboard.
I first encountered the noxious "The Cage" in an obscure horror anthology. It is a shivery little morsel of pure dread concerning the fate of a stout descendant of the auspicious Hoegbotton clan. But it's what the story doesn't say---the dark things it hints at---fungus! dwarves! Truffidian priests!---that intrigued me, and led me, at long last, to Ambergris.
Try "The Cage": you'll like it. Upon my first reading, I found wicked, brimming with subversive, infectious evil. I wanted more.
Alas, Vandermeer never fashions a crown for his crown jewels. Expect an Ambergris any fuller or richer than that glimpsed in the five main short tales? Expect to be disappointed.
But those short gems do gleam in the darkness, and for them Vandermeer merits a chance. I have written already of "The Cage".Read more ›
Everything in this book is great, but my favorite piece has to be the novella "The Transformation of Martin Lake." This is the one that won the World Fantasy Award, beating out the likes of Lucius Shepard and Tanith Lee that year. Another favorite is "Dradin, In Love," which was a finalist for the prestigious Theodore Sturgeon Award. City of Saints and Madmen is indeed a collection, but if you are primarily a fan of novels, don't let that put you off. The four main pieces are quite long, and each is quite satisfying on its own. This is not just a collection of short stories, but rather more like a cycle of novellas, all set in the same world. Also, this kind of "literary" fantastical writing always brings up the "Is it genre fiction?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is truly a jaw dropping book. It is dark. It is comedy. It is surreal. It is weird. It is deep. And, it folds back on itself, in a way. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dan Dearborn
A city exists at a bend in a river. It was once settled by odd grey people but conquerors killed them off and took the city for their own. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Johann Thorsson
I have had this book on my to be read pile for quite a while and was excited to finally pick it up to read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Karissa Eckert
OK, important to know that I finished JV's Southern Reach trilogy before I found this. That was a disquieting spectacular romp. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Branden Born
This book had good writing and an interesting story but very disjointed. I read most of it till you came to the dictionary then I had to just give up.Published 10 months ago by agil