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Old 02-09-2017   #11
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Re: "Alice's Last Adventure" Commentary

I have nothing remotely intelligent to add to the conversation other than to say that this may be my favorite Ligotti story.
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Old 05-01-2017   #12
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Re: "Alice's Last Adventure" Commentary

This is, for me, Ligotti in peak form. The biting sarcasm, the bleak view of the protagonist, the subtle and understated horror, and the absurdity and quirkiness of the other characters coalesce into a real treasure of literary horror.

We are subjected to a dazzling array of doubling and reflections, not only in the subjective experiences of Alice and her observations about the people and places around her, but in the narrative framework of the story itself. It's an astonishing work, one that rewards repeat readings.

But, I wonder, can somebody more astute in the art of interpretation help me with one particular passage? It's during Alice's uncanny experience in her bathroom, alongside her cat. The cat is frightened by something in the toilet bowl's water. When Alice goes to inspect, she barely sees an object that Ligotti refuses to fully describe. It simply "disappears into its porcelain burrow" before Alice can get a look. Is Alice flushing her reflection? Is she so repulsed by her "ancient mask" that she must look away and flush it down before she can examine it more closely? Did she imagine the mysterious object as a stand in--refusing to acknowledge the reflection? Or do I take it at face value as something extraordinary, something that cannot be explained?

There aren't many things about Ligotti's style that I relish more than his subtlety, the way he often times suggests horror, leaving the reader to fill in the blank with their own fears and phobias. This is one of my favorite examples, but it haunts me to no end. I've read the story five or six times recently and I still feel like I don't have a handle on this passage.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2017   #13
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Re: "Alice's Last Adventure" Commentary

I interpret it as a shadow snake or tiny person's shadow briefly merging with the toilet bowl's darkness before disappearing into the plumbing.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 05-02-2017   #14
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Re: "Alice's Last Adventure" Commentary

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
I interpret it as a shadow snake or tiny person's shadow briefly merging with the toilet bowl's darkness before disappearing into the plumbing.
That's very much like what I imagine as well. I've just wondered whether that is a kind of psychological substitute for her reflection, as she's increasingly having trouble with reflective surfaces and the sight of her aging face. Maybe the mystery of it is so beautiful that I'd be better off letting it remain mysterious.
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