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Old 11-22-2015   #11
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
A hilarious review here. if I were Thomas Ligotti I would be very proud of it...
Jack Poling (Saint Clairsville, OH)'s review of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe
Perhaps the funniest book review I've ever read. I'm inspired to kick my own head as well.

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Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
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Old 11-22-2015   #12
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
A hilarious review here. if I were Thomas Ligotti I would be very proud of it...
Jack Poling (Saint Clairsville, OH)'s review of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe
Perhaps the funniest book review I've ever read. I'm inspired to kick my own head as well.
I love impassioned reviews, whatever the take. It tells as much about the reviewer as it does about what they are reviewing. At least they care... a lot. I used to collect them. I read somewhere that Katherine Ramsland raked Ligotti over the coals early on. I have never been able to locate that review. Would love to read it. I once got a book through the interlibrary loan system just on vitriolic reviews of famous books: Moby Dick, Last of the Mohicans, and other classics of literature. I remember that Mary Midgley wrote a scathing one on The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins that turned into a full-blown feud. And Lovecraft's back-and-forths are great fun to read.

I should add that I could write reviews like this for Paradise Lost, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, and almost everything I have read by C.S. Lewis.
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Old 11-29-2015   #13
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

I see no reason why Ligotti's readership should not grow as the years go on. There are examples of writers whose readership started small but grew as time went on. One that comes to mind is another horror writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Another writer is Kafka. I tend to agree with Jeff VanderMeer who wrote at his blog:

"... Nor, as another individual quoted seems to think, is Ligotti difficult and for a cult audience. You might as well say this about Kafka.

One problem for writers like Ligotti lies in the reinforcing of “yes, buts” perpetrated by people who say they love his work…but in what they say wind up discouraging others from picking it up. It’s important to remember this when thinking about how we talk about what we enjoy. I never presume that I somehow am a more rarefied reader than the people I recommend books to.

What we need to remember is that writers like Cormac McCarthy were read by small audiences for years before reaching a wider audience. That Roberto Bolano was not a sure bet to become such an amazing success. That writers do not remain encased in the amber of a selective audience’s regard, given a chance with fresh eyes and the seriousness of an edition like this new one for Ligotti from Penguin Classics. So when you see this new Ligotti edition in the bookstore, check it out. I think you’ll like it."

The above comments by Jeff VanderMeer can be found here:

The Legacy of Thomas Ligotti - THE SOUTHERN REACH
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Old 04-09-2017   #14
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

It's funny how I gnash my teeth like a fanboy reading some of these reviews. The negative responses have these common complaints:

-opaque prose, academic prose, cold prose, dense, long
-boring
-not scary
-too much like Lovecraft, unoriginal
-I don't even like horror, I've only read one Lovecraft story and some Poe back in high school
-where's the ending?
-I like King more

The complaint about prose is unexpected to me. I always think it has a poetic flow and the words evoke the febrile decay of fall. The coldness one also doesn't make sense.

"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 04-09-2017   #15
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
It's funny how I gnash my teeth like a fanboy reading some of these reviews. The negative responses have these common complaints:

-opaque prose, academic prose, cold prose, dense, long
-boring
-not scary
-too much like Lovecraft, unoriginal
-I don't even like horror, I've only read one Lovecraft story and some Poe back in high school
-where's the ending?
-I like King more

The complaint about prose is unexpected to me. I always think it has a poetic flow and the words evoke the febrile decay of fall. The coldness one also doesn't make sense.
I don't want to sound awful, but Ligotti requires a certain degree of intelligence most people don't possess. There's no way around that truth. Being sensitive to this kind of literature requires a lot of sacrifice in order to appreciate it. This is why Ligotti himself refers to his readers as "maladjusted."

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-09-2017   #16
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

And yet majority of reviews are more than positive. Overwhelmingly so. I am happy that TL is available to wide populace and that he found deserved acclaim there, rather than being limited to expensive limited editions and small elitist readership.
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Old 04-09-2017   #17
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by Shadenuat View Post
And yet majority of reviews are more than positive. Overwhelmingly so. I am happy that TL is available to wide populace and that he found deserved acclaim there, rather than being limited to expensive limited editions and small elitist readership.
It's obviously good that both collections are more affordable. More specifically, it's good for those who were already interested in Ligotti's work but couldn't pay for expensive limited editions. But part of the reason Ligotti's work is of high quality is because he never wrote for a wide audience (he's said this himself in interviews). He only wrote for a small audience to begin with. He never compromised because he probably never had any real hopes about becoming a "writer."

I suspect he will not receive the acclaim he truly deserves until we're all dead. Even though he probably deserved it, it was a downright miracle that Penguin Classics published his work during his own lifetime. Ironically, there was never a chance that a major publisher would've agreed to publish any of his manuscripts before, which is why he stuck to small, obscure publishers to begin with. In the short-term catering to a wide audience almost always implies money is involved, people like Charles Dickens notwithstanding.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-10-2017   #18
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
It's funny how I gnash my teeth like a fanboy reading some of these reviews. The negative responses have these common complaints:

-opaque prose, academic prose, cold prose, dense, long
-boring
-not scary
-too much like Lovecraft, unoriginal
-I don't even like horror, I've only read one Lovecraft story and some Poe back in high school
-where's the ending?
-I like King more

The complaint about prose is unexpected to me. I always think it has a poetic flow and the words evoke the febrile decay of fall. The coldness one also doesn't make sense.
This is one of the reasons I tend not to read user's reviews from Amazon or Goodreads; it seems people forgot how to use their brains.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 04-10-2017   #19
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

I love sites like RateYourMusic and GoodReads, don't know where I'd be without the former. User reviews can be tricky depending on the type of audience a piece of work ends up with. Harder to find trustworthy reviews of epic fantasy than old ghost stories.

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Old 04-10-2017   #20
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

As a fan who owns the Penguin edition, I would like to say that it is very pleasing, as all Penguin Classics are. I enjoy the perfectly-sized print, the smooth paper, the excellent cover art, and, above all, the pleasant texture the cover has.
I have the Carroll & Graf copies of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe- excellent and very valuable volumes, but they're bulkier and sharper than the Penguin edition.
It's very portable and ergonomic. No chance of getting stabbed on the corners. Would be OK writing in the margins. 10/10.
I wonder if the GoodReads reviews will mention this- long-term ligotti fans getting a new edition of books they already own?

Last edited by Raul Urraca; 04-10-2017 at 10:28 PM..
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