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The Shadow at The Bottom of The World Paperback – October 25, 2005
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"Aficionados of the macabre consider Ligotti one of the finest writers in the field" -The Sunday Times"
About the Author
Something of a cult figure, Thomas Ligotti (b. 1953) was described by The Washington Post as "The best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction", while another critic declared "It's a skilled writer indeed who can suggest horror so shocking that one is grateful it was kept offstage".
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Top Customer Reviews
Unhappily I found most of this book to be disappointing. In most of these stories nothing ever really happens as far as any plot. Ligotti does a pretty good job of evoking the darkness behind all things, but there is a lack of any kind of *movement* which would allow something to play out. Thus the stories set a mood, but don't do anything much with it, which creates much less of an impact. In "The White People" Machen said that a great sin would be having a rose talk. But if there is no one interacting or responding to it, so what?
I enjoy Ligotti's writing style but (as another reviewer noted) he has the annoying habit of repeating a particular phrase over and over. For instance, in The Red Tower we are told that a factory made unique novelty items. Then we are told 20 more times throughout the story that the factory made unique novely items. This is a common occurence throughout most of these stories.
For me, the best stories (aside from the aformentioned Last Feast of the Harlequin) occur in a clump towards the end of the book. "Nethescurial", "The Cocoons", "The Tsalal", "The Bungalow House" and "Teatro Grottesco" are excellent and worth the price of admission. The rest of the stories I could live without.
Ligotti is pretty good, but he is certainly not the next major figure after Lovecraft.
Thom Ligotti is writer of dark, subversive and sometimes even violently pervers literature. Marginal as his writings are, he is a classic and an enigma in his own genre.
His debut "Songs of a dead dreamer" hit the market in 1985 and was a bull's eye's shot. From the creepy, domestic horror in the story "The frolic" and the madness-of-memories-tale "Dr. Locrian's asylum", to the almost plotless, David Lynchian nightmare of "The greater festival of masks", Ligotti graps you with his singing, Gothicly hymning language by the throat and never lets go.
One of Ligotti's most powerful assets is that the `dark', the `evil' is more of a mytaphisical presence than a plain visible and fysical one. There may be people with knives or nooses but they are always in the background, and not at all being the Main Menace like in more accessible, main stream horror pulp.
Read the sublime story "The shadow at the bottom of the world". Indeed at some point there is a man yielding a knife, but in no way this is what the story is about; in fact, the knife doesn't penetrate any flesh at all - the knife and the hand which is holding it just is part of a series of omens and forebodings; the real evil is, however so omnipresent, very much untouchable, and even more: impossible to describe. And there is nothing more fearfull and frightning than something you cannot see.
It's like a black hole: nobody has seen this intrigueiging but horrifying and destructive force of nature, it's presence is only suggested by the things and celestial bodies that move around and interact with it.
In Ligotti's "Shadow at the bottom of the world" it's the fields and the trees, the gazing sunrays and a strange overall `feel in the air' that tells the inhabitants of the village something quite fearfull is lurking in the not too great distance. But what?
Only the scarecrow seems to know, Mr. Marble perhaps, or the farmer who owns the land that `doesn't seem to get cold' even though the harvest season is setting.
This "Best of..." collection is a book filled with dream-in-dream confusions, stunningly dark, grotesque but suggestive imagery and ice cold discriptions of dark subworlds behind crumbled, nameless facades often reminds us of the nightmares we had when we were ill and had terrorising fevers and we were trembling all over, watching seemingly everlasting shadows slowly go by in the night.