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A Pretty Mouth Paperback – October 1, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
"All too infrequently do I encounter a new voice as delightful, compelling, and intelligent as that of Molly Tanzer. Or, for that matter, an author with such a range. But here, in A Pretty Mouth, is that shining gem that keeps me sorting through the rubble. If this is only the beginning of her work, I can hardly wait to see where she's headed!" --CAITLIN R. KIERNAN, author of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir
"A Pretty Mouth is a fine and stylish collection that pays homage to the tradition of the weird while blazing its own sinister mark. Tanzer's debut is as sharp and polished as any I've seen." --LAIRD BARRON, author of The Croning
"If Hieronymus Bosch and William Hogarth had together designed a Fabergé egg, the final result could not be more beautifully and deliciously perverse than what awaits the readers of A Pretty Mouth. Molly Tanzer's first novel is a witty history of the centuries-long exploits of one joyfully corrupt Calipash dynasty, a family both cursed and elevated by darkness of the most squamous sort. This is a sly and sparkling jewel of a book, and I can't recommend it enough--get A Pretty Mouth in your hands or tentacles, post-haste, and prepare to be shocked, charmed, and (somewhat moistly) entertained!" --LIVIA LLEWELLYN, author of Engines of Desire
"Molly Tanzer is a prose Edward Gorey, decadent, delicious, and ever so slightly mad." --NATHAN LONG, author of Jane Carver of Waar
"This is form and content and diction and tone and imagination all looking up at the exact same moment: When Molly Tanzer claps once at the front of the classroom." --STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of The Last Final Girl
"Had the nineteenth century really been like this--with the flounces and corsets and blood and tentacles and whatnot--we'd all be dead by now. Un- lucky us, but lucky you, Dear Reader, as you are alive to read this book." --NICK MAMATAS, author of Bullettime
"The stories and short novel in Molly Tanzer's impressive debut collection move steadily backwards through English history, from an Edwardian resort to a Roman encampment, stopping on the way for the nineteenth, eighteenth, and seventeenth centuries, all in the interest of tracing the main trunk of the notorious Calipash family tree all the way to its roots. It's a family linemarked by its excesses of sensuality, cruelty, and sorcery, and in excerpting the exploits of its storied members, Tanzer demonstrates her facility with a variety of voices and styles, from Wodehousian farce to Victorian erotica to Restoration class comedy. Each of the narratives collected here stands and succeeds on its own terms, but taken together, they add to a whole greater than the sum of its parts, in which the recurrence of key motifs in a diversity of settings creates the sense of a family living out its doom generation after generation. Tanzer is an ambitious writer, and she is talented enough for her ambition to matter." --JOHN LANGAN, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies
"A Pretty Mouth is many things; erudite, hilarious, profane, moving, learned, engaging, horrific, terrifying, and profound. Molly moves through the multi-forms of prose like a shark in wine-dark seas, rife with allusion, deep in emotion, and sometimes giving you a little salty-mouth. A fantastic collection and not one to be missed." --JOHN HORNOR JACOBS, author of This Dark Earth
"Molly Tanzer's A Pretty Mouth is a spectacular book, rad and weird and fun. With winks to P. G. Wodehouse, Robert E. Howard and the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, it showcases the work of a woman who delights in writing. She writes very well indeed! This is a book I will return to, for to read it is such a naughty pleasure." --W. H. PUGMIRE, author of The Twisted Muse
"I am a bit bashful about being titillated by Molly Tanzer's naughty debut, A Pretty Mouth, but I must admit it in order to write this blurb. While having segments that are hot and sexy, it is also a dark and disturbing tale with a wicked sense of humor and compelling chracaters. I blush just thinking about it and might have to go read it again!" --ALAN M. CLARK, author of A Parliament of Crows and Of Thimble and Threat: The Life of a Ripper Victim
"It's been repeatedly said we're enjoying in a new golden age of weird and fantastic fiction. We are, and this lady is one the gifted magicians whose literary creations are keeping the bonfire burning brightly!" --JOSEPH S. PULVER, SR., author of The Orphan Palace
"Tanzer lifts the skirts of Victorian hypocrisy for a full Monty view of perverted hijinks and fun." --MARIO ACEVEDO, author of Werewolf Smackdown
Top Customer Reviews
For anyone looking for a good read, this is it. Tanzer knows how to tell a tale. The pacing is expert and the characters are immediately engaging. A Pretty Mouth is definitely a page-turner. Yet each period Tanzer recreates is specific and wildly vivid. Nothing is tossed off. The underlying foundation for the book is a solid grasp of history, language, and philosophy. So the more you know of British history and the more classics you have read, the more fun you will have.
The book is comprised of four short stories and a novella. Each tale is set in a different era and may be read and enjoyed separately. Together they form a substantial arc, revealing hundreds of years of strange (often supernaturally strange) behavior among the highborn Calipashes. The mysterious origin of the family curse is withheld until the last story, creating dramatic suspense while the author traces several generations in reverse chronological order.
"A Spotted Trouble at Dolor-on-the-Downs" takes place in Edwardian England at the Marine Vivarium, a resort hotel catering to the whims of the aristocracy.Read more ›
Part novel, part short story collection, part genealogy of the cursed Calipash family, Molly Tanzer effortlessly shifts gears from Wodehouse parody to sword-and-sandal epic, and from ribald comedy to gruesome horror to titillating smut, all without ever losing her fantastic authorial voice. This delightfully unclassifiable debut is one of the finest books I've read in years, and is like nothing else you've ever read, I promise.
First, for the uninitiated, a quick definition of weird fiction: “A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain — a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.”
That’s how H.P. Lovecraft, the master of the uncanny dark, defined the genre for which he’d be forever known. Many modern writers exploring the genre have in fact used Lovecraft’s literary universe (now in the public domain) as a sort of gruesome sandbox for their own delightful tales.
One of the most exciting voices at play in that universe is that of Molly Tanzer. Her 2012 collection A Pretty Mouth is a delightful blend of subtle, unnerving horror and historically contextualized debauchery, substituting excesses of the flesh for the violence more commonly found in such tales.
Consisting of four short stories and a novella, A Pretty Mouth gives us in reverse chronological order a multi-generational look at the Calipash family, a noble English house with dark and twisted predilections and pedigree.
The Edwardian-era “A Spotted Trouble at Dolor-on-the-Downs” details the aid an industrious valet renders Alastair Fitzroy, the 27th Lord Calipash, whose sister has become addicted to the secretions of an unusual cephalopod.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. I bit discontinuous in terms of pacing and order but comes full circle nicelyPublished 5 months ago by nicola c fairbrother
A fantastic collection of related stories regarding the decadent Calipash family. Each is satisfying as a standalone tale from different periods of history, but taken together they... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Liv
I read a lot of books, and very, very occasionally - about once a year - I encounter a writer whose style and imagination just blow me away, who rings all of my bells and is... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Michael Kelly
From the wonderfully disturbing cover art to the finale of the last of the stories, A Pretty Mouth is an excellent book. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ian Welke
I loved this book! A little creepy, a little weird, hugely awesome. One of the best books I read in 2013.Published 19 months ago by Lydia
Dark, brilliant, and FUN! !!
Molly Tanzer’s debut is a wonderfully crafted nest of blood and weird and wit and profound and darkness… and imagination! !! Read more