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The Lurker at the Threshold Mass Market Paperback – May, 1988

3.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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"The twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers (May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088184408X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881844085
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Of all the reviews written here about this long out of print work I am astonished by all the misinformation written by so-called fans. Most of this comes from very young readers, I am assuming, who know little of the pulp magazines and are confused by paperback editions of books that are recycling stories and novels that have been around for a LONG time. Derleth never wrote a story until the 1950s? What hogwash! His weird fiction appeared as early as 1932 and the bulk of his weird fiction and mystery novels appeared throughout the late 30s and into the 1940s. Never collaborated? No, not in the flesh. But he knew Lovecraft while he was still alive, for heavens sake. But most of the "collaborations" were based on notes and plot outlines found among the dozens of papers Derleth and his friends inherited. "Buy anything by Lovecraft especially something from Arkham House." This book was ORIGINALLY Published by Arkham House in the 1940s! A publishing house I might add, created by Derleth and his pal Donald Wandrei. Readers should be celebrating the republication of a book that is highly sought after by collectors. It's a lot more affordable now at a mere ten bucks! It's hardly trash or garbage. Untidily written perhaps and derivative yes. But most of this fiction is derivative anyway. All the writers in the genre borrow from each other and little of it shows any real originality. Rehash after rehash. Readers and fans of this genre ought to read LURKER AT THE THRESHOLD for its literary historic value and keep in mind that Derleth's arch, sometimes annoyingly, baroque style is meant to evoke a mood of long forgotten era. I kind of like this quaint stuff. It sure beats the heck out of the gore-fests crammed with dismemberment, disembowelings, torture and sexual perversity that pass for horror these days.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a good read. It's not an action-packed, thrill-a-minute magnum opus, as it seems some wish it wouldve been. It's a rich, Gothic story... not trendy modern neo-Gothic. There is a vast distinction.
It has a good pace. It's nicely done. It's enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback
This book begins with an heir to a haunted family dynasty reclaiming his ancestral home and quickly doing some research into his ancestors and their contribution to mysterious noises and disappearances. He digs through old histories and newspapers in order to put together the puzzle of what happened in those weeks leading up to his great great grandfather leaving the country and never coming back. And then the scene shifts to his cousin who ALSO researches old tomes and family documents. Seriously, that's what actually happens in the thing. More research. And in the third chapter, there's EVEN MORE research happening.

Oh sure, there's a lot of the Lovecraft touches like the lurkers from beyond space and time and the old gods and our pal Yog Shoggoth but really most of the book is all about the research and the hunting through hoary old books. It's like a graduate student fantasy but instead of digging through archives and looking for all those receipts and diaries in order to discover Aaron Burr's tax record or evidence about the affects of the New Deal, you get to discover an ancient religion in which the deities are ready to get to you. And they are possessing your grandfather - and that weird indian.

Of course, you can't really avoid the problems with Lovecraft including the bad dialogue and the casual racism, but for the most part this is a pretty entertaining read about nerds doing research. And some have noted that the ending is a bit anti-climatic but I thought it was awesome. And rather hilarious.
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Format: Paperback
Do you like slow-paced Gothic horror? If so, you're going to like "The Lurker at the Threshold," a leisurely paced novel concerning British gentleman Ambrose Dewart's descent into madness upon returning to the Massachusetts estate his family all but abandoned in the 19th Century. This isn't the best example of such a book, but it does have its pleasures and would have made a nice black-and-white thriller with Vincent Price back in the day. As such, I can recommend this if you like the style and aren't looking for endless arrays of grisly phantoms popping their skulls into your face every 20 pages or so. I've read it and enjoyed almost every minute of it.

However, this novel most certainly is not a true collaboration between authors H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. That's where the trouble starts. Anyone truly familiar with Lovecraft's writing style is going to instantly realize that the byzantine sentence construction, the eldritch wizardry of the imagery, and the often archiac and cerebral language we associate with Lovecraft just aren't there. (Derleth, to his credit, writes dialogue better than Lovecraft did and adds some human touches usually lacking in Lovecraft's characters.) Derleth seems to have used just a few paragraphs by Lovecraft as the springboard for an entire novel, padding it out with some paraphrased language from other Lovecraft stories such as "Charles Dexter Ward."

This doesn't make the novel bad, just misleading. And a lot of unsuspecting people read this book and developed an opinion of Lovecraft that has nothing to do with the author's actual work. Why on earth can't the publisher include a foreword letting us know the truth behind the collaboration? I doubt it would hurt sales, and it would help to mend some broken fences.
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