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The Ceremonies Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 554 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell (July 1, 1985)
  • ISBN-10: 0553250558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553250558
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Ultimately, I liked it, but there were just a few too many little things which could (or should) have been different.
Barry Dejasu
The most interesting thing about the book is how Klein makes the characters subsidiary to the evil, which in turn makes the atmosphere of the story even weirder.
H&W
Sad to say, as the book was nearing the last 10 pages there was a quick rap up, a forgetful ending, with nothing there to leave me with that felling of WOW.
Daniel Vullo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
T.E.D. Klein entered the world of horror fiction with a great big splash when The Ceremonies was published in 1984. The novel was met with much critical success, being nominated for a 1985 World Fantasy Award and winning the British Fantasy Society award for best novel. Stephen King proclaimed it the most exciting horror novel since Peter Straub's Ghost Story. The Ceremonies really is a magnificent work of horror, but it is not for everyone. If you like action on top of action, you may find yourself bogged down and discouraged by this novel. At over 500 pages, it is rather long, and it can seem even longer than it really is to readers seeking quick thrills. Klein builds this novel quite slowly and tediously, creating an atmosphere of impending doom that grows in short increments from one page to the next. It is not the awful events that make this horror novel work; it is the atmosphere of dread and suspense. One cannot help but detect a little bit of Lovecraft in Klein (and not just because one of the characters is called the Old One), although both men's style differs considerably. The power that stands to be unleashed by the completion of "the ceremonies" described here is gargantuan, an awesome, world-destroying creature called up from the depths of the earth, a creature too ancient to even be labeled evil.
There are several storylines running through this novel, and their paths converge on only a few occasions, which is a facet of the writing that may bother some readers.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By SuperDoggie on January 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book, as with its companion piece, Dark Gods, should have a permanent place on every horror/dark fantasy fan's book shelf. The disquieting atmosphere evoked by this book provides an inimitable reading experience that is unlike anything being written today by modern dark fantasy writers, the majority of whom seem always compelled to assault their readers with cheap, formulaic narrative. To appreciate this book you must have a natural affinity for the rich gothic literature of the 19th century and a sensitivity to dark, slow-moving drama. You cannot be a passive reader. This book is not a 'stalk-and-slash' thriller; its aesthetic merit is not found in its ability to thrill, but in its ability to inspire awe and a profound sense of disturbing unease. Read it as such and you will not be disappointed.
Other writers capable of producing brilliantly dark and disturbing prose include: Fritz Leiber, Thomas Ligotti, Thomas Tessier, and Steve Rasnic Tem.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H&W on December 28, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Ceremonies is a transformation of T.E.D. Klein's earlier novelette "The Events at Poroth Farm." It is not necessary to read the latter in order to appreciate the former, for they are quite different. It may be useful to prime yourself with Klein's story collection "Dark Gods" in order to get a better idea of his style.

Sarr and Deborah Poroth are farmers living within an ulra-religious community. They eschew modernity in all its comforts, for such things are not of god. They love each other almost as much as they love god, even though none of that belief in god is ultimately useful to them, as the indifferent universe wins over all (interesting touch of reality, there). The virginal city dweller, Carol, also a true believer, longs for a relationship. Mostly she finds comfort in the attentions of Mr. Rosebottom (Rosie), an old man who presents himself as some kind of kindly grandfather type, but who is actually more evil than anyone can imagine. Jeremy is a teacher on sabbatical at the Poroth farm, studying Machen, Lovecraft, LeFanu, Jackson, Stoker, and other writers of the gothic and weird. He becomes involved with Carol and the other characters through the machinations of Rosie.

The most interesting thing about the book is how Klein makes the characters subsidiary to the evil, which in turn makes the atmosphere of the story even weirder. You won't find this kind of thing in stories by Stephen King, or other writers whose works are much more character-centered (and less interesting, I think). Klein's character Jeremy studies the works of the great weird writers, but this is not enough to make Jeremy himself even mildly interesting. Rather, it is the quoted parts of Machen's "The White People" from Jeremy's reading that holds your attention.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By wgrae@earthlink.net on August 11, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first time I read this book, I way lying on a beach in the sun, yet parts of the novel truly chilled me. Klein's book is clearly an homage to Lovecraft, yet his attention to detail, dialogue and setting create an often disturbing story with considerable immediacy. For someone who appreciates Lovecraft (as I do), Klein's ability to recreate the texture and depth of Lovecraft's better work makes this book compelling.
My only criticsim: I've been unable to find any other work by Klein.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Stover on March 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Klein's one-and-only novel is not just a great horror novel -- it's a great novel in any genre. What he pulls off here is extraordinarily rare, creating a text that manages to work what can be seen as metafictional commentary on, in this case, the entire history of horror fiction into a structurally elegant and compelling horror novel populated with flawed but sympathetic characters.

Stripped to its basics, The Ceremonies tells the story of a 30ish New York City grad student in English literature whose thesis is on Gothic and horror literature, and whose life suddenly starts to resemble some of the works he's reading over the course of a summer.

Klein comes up with one of the most innovative reworkings of the "forbidden book" trope in horror fiction that I can think of. Normally, the forbidden book (say, H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon) is a text invented for a work of fiction which, within the world of that fiction, reveals in whole or in part the secret workings of the universe. Generally, a forbidden text is rare, dangerous even to read, and filled with knowledge that undermines all cultural norms when it comes to religion. For example, the Necronomicon reveals that all human religion is a comforting lie that obscures the true, horrifying and precarious state of humanity in a universe that is consciously hostile towards us.

But as the malign Old One muses in the novel, forbidden knowledge never stays hidden. As a character in another Klein story notes, if the Necronomicon really existed, it would be available in paperback in any book store.
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