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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Scarce older publication; appears mostly untouched and unread, shows very slight signs of prolonged shelf-life, likely out of print. The page-ends have tanned or faded from prolonged shelf-life.
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The Five Gates of Hell Paperback – September 29, 1992

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A runaway gets tangled up with a funeral parlor director who murders for the fun of it in British novelist Thomson's incandescent coming-of-age thriller.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Jed and Nathan live in Moon Beach, a bizarre resort where funerals are the principal industry, and the owners of mortuaries are the civic powers. Neither has a home life, so they join Vasco Gorelli's gang of very weird arsonists. Jed becomes involved with the most powerful of the funeral directors, Creed, who hires Jed as a driver and suborns him into killing Vasco's brother, then uses Nathan to destroy Jed. The story starts slowly and never speeds up, but the picture of an obsessive town where every civic feature is calmly dedicated to the commercialization of death is just odd enough to be both humorous and frightening. Recommended for spooky, imagistic prose, but may have limited appeal. Thomson's first novel was Dreams of Leaving ( LJ 4/15/88).
- Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 29, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679735712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679735717
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,096,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A. R. Gray on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Beauty and ugliness collide with such a tremendous impact, that there are points when we are not sure which is which. Thomson illustrates this; here are two central characters; Jed, the ugly one, and Nathan, the beautiful one. The story follows each, as he is swallowed by the endless decandence of Moon Beach, a city obsessed with death, and built on an industry of funeral parlours. Each witnesses beauty and ugliness in many forms, presented in wonderful prose. Thomson has a talent for describing things in unconventional forms, while somehow never moving away from the thing in question. He solidifies emotion, and liquifies solid objects, in language that bounces and cascades. Ther supporting characters fulfill their requirements - not only do they 'support', but they add depth to the two central characters. Vasco the gang leader, Creed the mysterious head of the corporation, Harriet the Au Pair - each has their own place in Thomson's magical city. This is a decidedly blue book; anyone longing for brighter colours should look elsewhere. However, if lue is your scene, then this might very well be the shade for which you've been searching.
At least read this book, even if you don't buy it. There are few novels able to capture the imagination with such magnificent force and effect. I felt like a butterfly lost in caverns of sulphur, walls that glitter in the noxious light, I had to stay, I wanted to fly further, deeper, I had to know . . .
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Format: Hardcover
Highly recommended. I have read all of Thomson's books, except "Soft", and found that his first 2 ("Dreams" and "5 Gates") are his best. What seems to work is the off-kilter realism of the characters combined with the surrealism of the setting (a coast town based on the funeral business in "5 Gates" and a town no one is allowed to leave in "Dreams") and stories. "5 Gates" is an eerie read where you always feel submerged in the dreamy water-world of Moon Beach or its surrounding deserts where things mostly move in slow motion until drawn to a quick conclusion.
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