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“As the truck pulled into a clearing and came to a stop, I saw a loose assembly of figures, many of which held lanterns that beamed with a dazzling and frosty light. I stood up in the back of the truck to unboard as the others were doing. Glancing around from that height I saw approximately thirty more of those cadaverous clowns milling about. One of my fellow passengers spied me lingering in the truck and in a strangely high-pitched whisper told me to hurry, explaining something about the 'apex of darkness'. I thought again about this solstice night; it was technically the longest period of darkness of the year, even if not by a very significant margin from many other winter nights. Its true significance, though, was related to considerations having little to do with either statistics or the calendar.”
Thomas Ligotti - “The Last Feast of Harlequin”

Tsang Kin-Wah: The Infinite Nothing
Nov 15, 2016 - 3:30 PM - by qcrisp
I have been apprised of an art installation by the Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah, which has apparently been influenced by Ligotti. Ligotti is quoted, for instance, in his curatorial statement, here:

Here is a video presenting the installation:

I thought TLOers might find it of interest, even if it's too late, now, to attend, and there would be, anyway, geographical difficulties for most of us.
6 Replies | 4,300 Views
New Essay About Thomas Ligotti's Works by D.P. Watt
Nov 05, 2016 - 12:53 PM - by lepidoppleganger
‘The Impossible Literature of Thomas Ligotti, Puppeteer and Eschatologist’, in Thinking Horror: A Journal of Horror Philosophy, Vol 2, October 2016.

Watt is a brilliant fiction writer and essayist, and this is sure to be a gem.
7 Replies | 4,643 Views
The Literature of Creepy Clowns
Oct 13, 2016 - 11:56 AM - by Dr. Locrian

"The Literature of Creepy Clown" (Literary Hub) highlights Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin."

The apex of clowns-as-nightmare fuel in literature may well have come from the pen of Thomas Ligotti. This is not terribly shocking, given that Ligotti could write about an adorable child riding a pony on a sunny day and turn it into the stuff that chills readers’ souls and convinces them that they live in a bleak, arbitrary universe. Among the stories in his collection Grimscribe is “The Last Feat of Harlequin,” about an academic whose work involves articles with titles like “The Clown Figure in American Media.” He ventures to the town of Mirocaw, which hosts an annual festival in which clowns play a prominent role. Our narrator habitually attends such events, and regularly takes part. “To me the title of Clown has always carried connotations of a noble sort,” he writes. Throw in the involvement of an old mentor and you have the beginnings of a compelling narrative.

It’s also a narrative that, by the story’s end, curdles into something utterly terrifying. The narrator arrives in Miroclaw and discovers anonymous townspeople dressed as clowns and battered by their neighbors according to some mysterious custom. “They’re the freaks,” one of the locals tells him. “It’s their turn this year. Everyone takes their turn. Next year it might be mine. Or yours.” By the time the story reaches its climax—in a clown-filled subterranean chamber, where a terrifying ritual takes place—even readers without a pre-existing aversion to clowns may well find themselves recoiling from one the next time they see them.

Ligotti’s story taps into the kind of formalized and codified behavior associated with clowns, and then uses that to unearth something much deeper and more sinister. It’s one of the most effective horror stories in a book of effective horror stories, and it seems no coincidence that the cover of the recent Penguin Classics edition of Ligotti’s Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe features a sinister riff on the harlequin whose imagery pervades the story.
2 Replies | 2,686 Views
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