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The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas Hardcover


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The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas + The Gashlycrumb Tinies + The Twelve Terrors of Christmas
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company; First Edition edition (October 31, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151004153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151004157
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Edward Gorey's first book in 25 years, The Haunted Tea-Cosy is a classic work from that magnificently morbid master. The plot of this "dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas" revolves around one Edmund Gravel, an Edwardian Scrooge whose attempt to slice a stale fruitcake unleashes an assortment of guilt-inducing ghosts. There's the Spectre of Christmas That Never Was, who directs our hero's attention to a cowering orphan in a graveyard (along with some other, lower-key bits of pathos: "In the high street of the village Reverend Flannel lost his tuning-fork.") The Spectre of Christmas That Isn't also chips in with a kidnapping, a domestic dispute, and a return to the aforementioned graveyard: "To the south, in the cemetery a wrong coffin in a newly dug grave was found to contain rolls of used wallpaper." Like the Dickensian miser upon whom he's based, Gravel is transformed by this ghoulish guided tour. He renounces his life of solitude and invites all of Lower Spigot to a party, featuring "a cake taller than anything else in the room, a conflation of Chartres Cathedral and the Stupa at Borobudur iced in dazzling white sugar" (not pictured, alas). Gorey's illustrations for The Haunted Tea-Cosy are looser and less elaborately cross-hatched than some of his earlier creations. But like the text, these oddly stilted and very Anglophiliac scenes remain a model of delicious, deadpan hilarity. --James Marcus

From Library Journal

In his first new book in 25 years, Gorey rethinks Dickens's A Christmas Carol.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) wrote and illustrated such popular books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. Animated sequences of his work have introduced the PBS series Mystery! since 1980.

Customer Reviews

Old Scrooge should only meet this Bahum Bug!
Ann W. Unemori
Great holiday entertainment, and a great gift for the scrooge who has everything but this book.
KNO2skull
I'm so glad to see these and others of his stories available.
jbus4323

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've read this book a time or two and looked up words I thought I knew. They're sometimes long, sometimes arcane and even sometimes quite inane.
Didactically its well diffused. It's only we it leaves confused. Just when you think you've got the plot, you find what's plot is really not.
And here's a clue that's truly droll. Wallpaper seems to have a role. Perhaps it's meant to be the paste that makes diffusiveness a whole.
Yet it's a Dickens of a story, and we know, of course, it's a-la-Gorey.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Three ghosts, a recluse and an initial apparition. Dickens, right? Wrong: Edward Gorey does his own take on "Christmas Carol" in "The Haunted Tea Cosy." Delightfully verbose and filled with Gorey's surreal drawings, this is a picture book that adults will adore.
Recluse Edward Gravel is going about dreary tasks before Christmas. Then sudden an enormous insectile creature leaps from beneath the tea cosy. (Never mind what a tea cosy is) It is the Bahhum Bug, which has come to "diffuse the interests of didacticism." To escort the Bahhum Bug and Mr. Gravel, three subfuse but transparent personages appear to show him the Christmas That Never Was, The Christmas That Isn't, and The Christmas That Never Will Be. They show him distressing scenes around the grey town of Lower Spigot. It's written in a wry, twisted style, this book includes delightfully dour illustrations by the late and much lamented Gorey.
Tired of relentless holiday cheer? Looking for a dash of Halloween's darkness in the chirrupy holiday season? Then check out "The Haunted Tea Cosy," and then carry on to "the very edge of the unseemly"!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE Ed Gorey's work and have a growing collection. His attention to detail, symbolism, word usage and dark humor are all hallmarks.
However, I was a little disappointed with the "Haunted Tea Cozy," which I received as a gift. This is a clever, witty interpretation of "A Christmas Carol" and is vintage Gorey with regard to the text and choice of characters.
However, the drawings were just not as sharply detailed as Gorey fans will be expecting. I don't want to place blame with Mr. Gorey (this work was first printed in magazine form a year before and maybe the loss of crispness, hatching etcetera was due to the printing).
If you are an avid collector you will still want it and if you like the story or Mr. Gorey's writing it's worth the money. Nonetheless this is the first time I can say that I felt slightly cheated with a Gorey work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann W. Unemori on December 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderfl antithesis to all the forced jollities of Dicken's beloved chestnut. Old Scrooge should only meet this Bahum Bug! Instead, the Yuletide Bug takes the dour Edward Gravel through a tour of Christmases that Never Were, Isn't, and Never Will Be, all shown in wonderfully ambiguous terms. Of course the Moral Lesson Is Learned, and Mr.Gravel learns to sheer cheer with the equally grey people of his town of Lower Spigot. But the delight is that nowhere does Gorey force the lesson on us, never do the odd little tragedies, even in cemetaries, force one to See the Real Meaning of Christmas--until we have finished the story, and even then it is a droll little moral. This is one story I intend to make a holiday standard in my family.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ging1717@aol.com on February 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Though the storyline is somewhat re-hashed, Gorey's drawings are delighful. A must-have for any real collector.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Austin on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a short tale of Edmund Gavel who is visited by the Bah Hum Bug and 3 Christmas spectres. Other than the names of the ghosts there is no reference to Christmas in this strangely entertaining and delightfully illustrated little tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cecil Bothwell VINE VOICE on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Oddly refreshing. Though I am familiar with Gorey's cartoon art, this is the first of his books that I've stumbled into and I suddenly understand his cultish popularity. TEA COSY is a re-make of Dicken's CHRISTMAS CAROL involving wallpaper thieves, ghosts of never-were holidays and a Bahum Bug who battles didacticism. The whole adventure ends at "the very edge of the unseemly." Don't wait until Christmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Gorey's unique sense of humor is sure to be appreciated for people with a taste for the subtle and obscure. This pastiche of "A Christmas Carol" finds Gorey in fine form, particularly with the irrelevant introduction of a large bug character, and the end when celebrations are carried "to the very edge of the unseemly." Wonderful! The art work, done in a style imitating the rustic wood carvings that have become common fodder in some holiday cards of late, is both Goreyan and new.
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