Ligotti Noctuary

ISBN 13: 9780786702350

Noctuary

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9780786702350: Noctuary

Noctuary is the third volume of Thomas Ligotti's horror stories to appear in a revised, definitive edition from Subterranean Press. The first two collections in this series, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (2010; 1986; expanded edition, 1989) and Grimscribe: His Lives and Works (2011; originally published 1991), are now collector's items. Like its predecessors, Noctuary received numerous plaudits from reviewers upon its initial appearance. According to Library Journal, Noctuary is 'another colorful collection of horror stories...which spring on the unsuspecting reader the combination of supernatural characters, natural props, and 'weird' circumstanced. As Booklist observed, 'The most disturbing terror comes from within, springs unexpectedly from bland or half-formed memories of the past. This is the terror that Ligotti cultivates in the rich evocative tales of Noctuary... For those willing to immerse themselves in Ligotti's world, the rewards are great.'

When an interviewer asked Ligotti the derivation of the word 'noctuary,' he replied that it was the nocturnal counterpart of 'diary,' that is, a journal of what occurs on a nightly timetable rather than during the light of day. Echoing the tenebrous tone of the book s name are the section titles into which Noctuary is divided Studies in Shadow, Discourse on Blackness, Notebook of the Night. Shadow, Blackness, Night: these are substance and signification of the themes of Ligotti's works and the signature of gloom in which they are signed.

New to Noctuary are the terse pieces of the volumes third section. Composed of nineteen dreamy entries, Notebook of the Night is a journal or perhaps only excerpts of a greater work of insidious exploits, delirious freaks, hymns to the void, esoteric rituals, and carnivals of the abyss. As an introduction to this and the other segments of Noctuary is 'In the Night, in the Dark: A Note on the Appreciation of Weird Fiction.' Perhaps the reader will fight guidance in the words of this meditation on what separates the aberrant from the norm, the diseased from the wholesome, and the night from the day.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Supersaturated with supernal purple: a third sheaf of horror shorts from Ligotti (Grimscribe, Songs of a Dead Dreamer) that binds bodiless slumberings into a lurid triumph of wordcraft over forlorn weirdness. The present nighttime ditties (earlier magazine publication was not noted in our galley) show him again focused on the decaying glow of a scholarly solitary obsessed by horrific studies and going over the edge as his worst, most hidden fear rises up concretely before him. As in Verdi, Ligotti stories witness the unstoppable force of Fate. Character rarely develops, is only acted upon by an inscrutable malignancy, seen in the indigo of death's twilight glamour. Here, the author opens with a note ``on the appreciation of weird fiction'' whose ideas and sidelights woo us down a gleaming path in a dim woods: ``A man awakes in the darkness and reaches over for his eyeglasses. The eyeglasses are placed in his hand.'' In ``The Medusa,'' a bookish philosopher fixated on the faces of the Medusa in human existence (the horrific is everywhere) finally meets his goddess--and becomes one with the horror in his soul. In ``Conversations in a Dead Language,'' a fat postman given to babytalk is trick-or-treated into his dreamfate by midget vampires and jack-o'-lanterns amid the delirium and disorder of Halloween. In his descriptive short novel ``Tsalal'' (Tsalal is a book of mock scholarship like H.P. Lovecraft's heady but fictitious volume of abstruse weirdness, The Necronomicon), Ligotti relates spiritual particulars of a half-world borderland community called Moxton, which is seen with the vivid brightness of nicked lead. The final ``Notebook of the Night'' slips us into a dozen or so drab labyrinths past all lamplight. An exhalation of evenings with the half-dead. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Ligotti's ( Grimscribe ) clever title suggests the marriage of "nocturne" and "mortuary," an appropriate preparation for this dark grouping of tales. In the foreword, the author explains that they fall in the category of "weird fiction," that is, extreme gothic horror, featuring macabre endings and unremitting doom. The studied extravagance in the narration of the some of the stories verges on stylistic overkill. Nevertheless, as gothic tales, a number of them are interesting. Three good tales are "The Medusa," which tells of a scholar obsessed with the Gorgon whom Perseus apparently did not kill; "Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel," a tale that lends new meaning to the term "bad dreams"; and the novella-length "The Tsalal," a gothic work of demonic prophecy that boasts a gruesome ending. These 27 stories describe shadowy worlds of blurred dimensions and ill-lit interiors; as with all such tales, the "when" and "where" are much less important than the atmosphere of gothic horror produced by Ligotti's baroque prose.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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