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Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Thomas Ligotti (Author)

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403845,340 (4.03)23
Thomas Ligotti's debut collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and his second, Grimscribe, permanently inscribed a new name in the pantheon of horror fiction. Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti crafted his own brand of existential horror, which shocks at the deepest levels. In decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes tormented by the lunatic pageantry of masks, puppets, and obscure ritual, Ligotti's works lay bare the sickening madness of the human condition. From his dark imagination emerge stories like "The Frolic" and "The Last Feast of Harlequin," waking nightmares that splinter the schemes validating our existence. In these collections, Ligotti bends reality until it cracks, opening fissures through which he invites us to gaze on the unsettling darkness below-an ordeal from which one may perhaps return, but never to be the same… (more)
Member:jtietze
Title:Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe
Authors:Thomas Ligotti (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (2015), Edition: Reprint, 464 pages
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Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti (2015)

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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Adding a review of this book takes some time to think over the content as well as the author's other works, and the influences on this writer's style as well as his influence on other writers. So with that said, Ligotti's style of writing is very old school horror, and you can read his books without checking again to see when it was written as seems to have been written in the 1800s or perhaps Ligotti is channeling some dead authors. Skip to the current times, and there are rumors/accusations floating around the internet that writers of certain TV shows are lifting his materials verbatim.. . . not this particular book but other writings.

All I can say about is it's an interesting read, the stories seems formulaic, and it imposes a certain philosophy of life influenced by nihilism, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and other writers who can create unnerving tales. Certainly a talent to be reckoned with, and like Philip K. Dick, you are not sure where the boundary lies between creativity and mental illness. ( )
  kerryp | Jul 4, 2020 |
I feel that I should explain my rating on this one. Part of it is technical: I gave his prose the benefit of the doubt until about three quarters of the way through, when it became clear that he wasn't being slightly stilted on purpose and that that was just the style he thought was appropriate to horror.

I have noticed that certain experiences are left to languish in the corners of life, passed by like waifs on the street, as if they should be dissuaded from circulating too freely among legitimate persons.

That's overwritten and faux-deep. "Legitimate persons" especially sounds as though he's reaching for eloquence on a shelf just beyond his arms' length.

Part of it is philosophical: was there a consistent philosophy, besides maybe "things are bad", in the book?

Part of it is that I don't think anything happens in any of these stories. He has great predecessors in this genre, Poe and Lovecraft, but both of them had better, or at least more interesting, prose.

And part of it is a softer thing that I might call emotional: it's silly to talk about "the" point of fiction, but at least one of the points is to cause a reaction in the reader, and, whether it's a fault in me or in the text, I don't think I had a single one over however many pages this was. ( )
  elucubrare | Apr 26, 2020 |
Ligotti writes stories you have to read one at a time, then perhaps re-read, to really understand and feel all the nuances, twists and turns. One of my new favorites. ( )
  meznir | Jan 8, 2020 |
I've already read both the collections separately and I thought I'd read this to celebrate the fact that they are now considered classics. I really don't have much to say about Ligotti at this point. He is a beast of his own unlike anyone else out there, piling adjectives and descriptions on top of each other and suffocating you with them. Conjuring haunting dream-like imagery that stays with you for days. I could go on, but I'll stop. ( )
  sunil_kumar | Apr 1, 2019 |
I've already read both the collections separately and I thought I'd read this to celebrate the fact that they are now considered classics. I really don't have much to say about Ligotti at this point. He is a beast of his own unlike anyone else out there, piling adjectives and descriptions on top of each other and suffocating you with them. Conjuring haunting dream-like imagery that stays with you for days. I could go on, but I'll stop. ( )
  sunil_kumar | Feb 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Ligottiprimary authorall editionscalculated
VanderMeer, JeffForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thomas Ligotti's debut collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and his second, Grimscribe, permanently inscribed a new name in the pantheon of horror fiction. Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti crafted his own brand of existential horror, which shocks at the deepest levels. In decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes tormented by the lunatic pageantry of masks, puppets, and obscure ritual, Ligotti's works lay bare the sickening madness of the human condition. From his dark imagination emerge stories like "The Frolic" and "The Last Feast of Harlequin," waking nightmares that splinter the schemes validating our existence. In these collections, Ligotti bends reality until it cracks, opening fissures through which he invites us to gaze on the unsettling darkness below-an ordeal from which one may perhaps return, but never to be the same

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