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Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier
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Fancies and Goodnights

by John Collier

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6141025,270 (3.96)17
John Collier's edgy, sardonic tales are works of rare wit, curious insight, and scary implication. They stand out as one of the pinnacles in the critically neglected but perennially popular tradition of weird writing that includes E.T.A. Hoffmann and Charles Dickens as well as more recent masters like Jorge Luis Borges and Roald Dahl. With a cast of characters that ranges from man-eating flora to disgruntled devils and suburban salarymen (not that it's always easy to tell one from another), Collier's dazzling stories explore the implacable logic of lunacy, revealing a surreal landscape whose unstable surface is depth-charged with surprise.… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, KevinEldon, paswanson, AndrewSil, dllman05, travelight, hjbacchus, notthattodd
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    Collected Stories (Everyman's Library) by Roald Dahl (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Another master. 'Evening Primrose' is one of the most unsettling stories I have read.
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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
[b:Fancies And Goodnights|84405|Fancies and Goodnights (New York Review Books)|John Collier|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171054429s/84405.jpg|2294] by John Collier
  valentinbru | Oct 2, 2018 |
A few pages into this book, I was ready to declare Collier my new favorite writer. He has the delicious wit and dizzyingly addictive enthusiasm of Bradbury at his short best; his way with a phrase is positively Wildeian; when his endings are heat, they're really great.

But after a dozen or so stories, I started to think this collection is a bit less than the sum of its parts. Collier's stories concern the same general types of characters: young men with youthful obsessions, primed for an ironic education. Where Bradbury switches between gothic horror, southern pastoral nostalgia, and goofy comedy, Collier glides on more evenly. That makes his voice that much more recognizable, but it deflates this particular book as a whole.

This may just be a first-read impression, though. There's so much to like here—the extremely short form, the unforgettable phrases, the instantly classic twists—that despite its flaws, 'Fancies and Goodnights' is a story collection made to fall in love with. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
not every story is great but mostly humourous and quirky ( )
  mahallett | Nov 10, 2016 |
Slightly supernatural or quirky short stories from early 20C.
Read Aug 2004
  mbmackay | Nov 30, 2015 |
This is a great, great collection. I had no idea who John Collier was, but got the recommendation for this collection. (From where? I don’t remember.) I was more than pleasantly surprised; I was dumbfounded by the quality, the weirdness, the twists and turns of these stories.

Now, it is fair to warn you that, in some small measure, these have a touch of aging. (The stories are from the 30s and 40s.) I see this most reflected in the fact that some of the “surprise” endings are telegraphed. In general, these twists are not shocking surprises. I feel some of this is because they are the type of twists readers see so often we begin to expect them. And yet, there wasn’t a single story that, to me, was damaged by this foreknowledge.

I laughed out loud at some (you should have seen the looks on the airplane), I was enthralled with all of them, I was entertained, and I just flat liked every page of this collection. (Okay, I lie – one story didn’t work for me – one story – one story in 328 pages. That ain’t bad.)

And then I got to the last story, “The Chaser.” Imagine my surprise when I remembered it. A story I read in high school that I have remembered this whole time, but never knew what it was and who wrote it.

The fact that I didn’t know the name speaks to my ignorance. The continuing power of the stories speaks to the power of John Collier’s stories – they are all so good any one of them may be the one that comes back to you 40 years later. ( )
1 vote figre | Dec 16, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Collier, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hadas, MosesForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoyle, FredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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