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Teatro Grottesco Paperback – March 9, 2010
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"A generous serving of Edgar Allan Poe, a dash of Franz Kafka, a smidgen of Robert Aickman: These comprise the components in the cauldron of creativity of Thomas Ligotti. . . . His descriptive powers are mesmerizing." Hellnotes
From the Back Cover
'Quite unlike anything else being published One of the most unique voices in the field His imagery is breathtaking' Science Fiction Chronicle
'(Ligotti uses) restrained, lyrical prose and subtly disturbing images that Poe himself might well have admired' USA Today
Top Customer Reviews
Is Ligotti a Lovecraftian writer? Well, based on this collection - and I have no idea how representative it is - yes and no. There are no explicit Lovecraftian allusions in this collection - no references to the forbidden books, nightmare locations, and mysterious entities created by Lovecraft and those adding to the Mythos. Yet, the pre-eminent, most important aspect of Lovecraft's work, "cosmic horror", the "infinite terror and dreariness" of existence, as one story here puts it, is shared by Ligotti.
Yet, that horror is expressed in vaguer and more general terms than in Lovecraft. In one of his stories, the horrific revelation is one of man's hidden evolutionary past, miscegenation in a family's past, the existence of alien races. The revelation at the end of a Ligotti story is rarely so specific.
And their prose differs. The scientific references in a Lovecraft story are not here. The technological trappings of a Lovecraft story frequently link it to its time of composition. Ligotti's stories are noticeably lacking in any specific technological reference. An "audiotape" is the most time specific reference there is. Otherwise, they could be set almost anytime during the 20th century. Ligotti's prose reminded me more of Lovecraft's idol, Poe, than Lovecraft. Always told in the first person, they frequently deal with odd psychological states and fixations. The notion of the alternate self, the doppelganger as pioneered by Poe in his "William Wilson", also shows up a lot.Read more ›
I believe this is the only Ligotti book currently in print, and it is only the second I have read (after "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World"). Like a lot of short story collections, some stories appear in more than one book, and there are indeed a few in here that were included in "...Shadow...", but "Teatro Grottesco" is still well worth the cover price.
A few of the stories take place in a shared setting, near the foreboding border of a country controlled by an omnipresent company. Far from cyberpunk sci-fi, these stories have a rich old-fashioned tinge, and are some of my favorites.
If you tend to be attracted to things dark and offbeat, you owe it to yourself to check out Thomas Ligotti.
Every story in this book, for me, was an absolute delight. Not a single story has failed to give me the unsettling and atmospheric quality I seek. Maybe you are looking for the same, maybe you aren't.
In Ligotti's tales, I have found a disturbing familiarity, and perhaps this is why I keep going back over and over. Although not all may appreciate this brilliant body of work, there exist those that will find themselves deeply affected by these tales.
For the price, you cannot beat this book. If you are a lover of strange tales, and if you are anything like me, you may find yourself re-reading it when you have new books staring at you from your bookshelf.
Some stories are driven by plot or character or even mood. Ligotti's stories - in this collection at least - seems to be driven by a world-view. He focuses on different aspects of this world-view in different stories but the main character is in all of them not a person or a monster but a conception of the world which speaks through people, places, things, creatures.
Here are some examples of what I mean.
The social/interpersonal aspects of this world-view are highlighted in "Purity"
"The Clown Puppet" delves into the psychological aspects of Ligotti's world-view
"The Red Tower" is about ontology. In a very odd way it is the only story I can think of where existence itself is a character. It was an unsettling experience for me.
"Our Temporary Supervisor" is about the nature of work.
"The Bungalow House" is the most interesting of the book for me. In another of Ligotti's books - "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race" - which I have yet to finish so I may not accurately capture his thoughts here - he makes use of the idea of sublimation which he borrows from Peter Wessel Zapffe. I am probably going to oversimplify this but basically Zapffe/Ligotti believe all of humanity is running from certain basic facts of existence. In a very subtle move, one of the ways we run from this knowledge is to write about/make movies about/sing about the very facts we are trying to escape from and thereby we exert some measure of control over them - albeit in a false and dishonest way. In this story Ligotti demonstrates the paradox in a vivid fashion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of these stories I liked quite a bit, others felt like a bit of a chore. Not sure if it's a common thing with Ligotti, but a lot of the stories in this collection felt like... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Dwayne Burball
Thesevstories were to straaaaange for my liking. I felt I was inside the mind of a very disturbed individual. To sum it up-- not my cup of tea!Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Charles Dickens
This is likely one of the best short story collections I have read. I first encountered the name thomas ligotti a long time ago. Read morePublished 7 months ago by MexiJoe
I love a good, dark collection of stories, but this one is very dark. That's why I only gave it 4 stars. Some of the stories just bummed me out. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Shari's Peculiar Fascination
I highly recommend Teatro Grottesco as a great introduction to Ligotti. The short stories are a fantastic way to begin to wrap your head around his prose. Read morePublished 8 months ago by MatthewL
The author is one sick dude, which is a major compliment. Horror fiction was always fun but never truly scared me. This guy scares me. He is a master of the creepy. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Philip
I didn't finish this book.
I wanted to like it but just couldn't really get into it. I simply don't think Thomas Ligotti is a very good writer. Read more
I love this book. It makes me feel weird all over for days after finishing even one story, but in a good way. Well, in a weird, existential angst way, but in my mind, that's good!Published 10 months ago by Buddha-Mom Tea