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Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham

Nightmare Alley (1946)

by William Lindsay Gresham

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3071436,351 (3.92)15

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A very challenging read for my course in Noir, in that often it seemed to drag things out far longer than necessary, when I was used to much quicker novels before. I think I liked the ideas of it more than the book itself. It got very much into the carny underworld, and the fake seances and spiritual manipulations were interesting, but again far too drawn out. Also, extremely Freudian and in a very uncomfortable way. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Dang if I don't hate being the person who just doesn't gush about a novel when everyone is throwing out 5 stars. Here's my beef specifically. I don't care about these characters, and I'm not at all shocked by their behavior. Not by today's standards at any rate. Looking at it as it was written in it's time I can imagine it was jaw dropping, now it's just dated and I don't get sentimental over aged books. ( )
  NateK | Nov 30, 2015 |
New edition from New York Review Books: http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/classics/nightmare-alley/

"…capable of eating toasted little Cormac McCarthy novels for breakfast."
—Chicago Reader
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  David_David_Katzman | Nov 26, 2013 |
I love Crime Noir, the old stuff from the pulp magazine world is entertainment at its best. This was moody and dark, perfectly written. I loved the perspective of the narrator. Wonderful. ( )
  Elpaca | May 1, 2013 |
I think it was It was June 24th! I was on my way to B&N Union Square I was having such a hard time reading this book but then something amazing happened! I began to understand what this book was all about! All the sudden everything on it started to make sense! Hell! The whole universe began to make sense! I kept thinking how this book explained everything! EVERYTHING!!! All the sudden I was aware! I didn’t want to stop! But as usual the universe plotted against me and my train arrived on time to my destination! When I got there I immediately started babbling to my friend about how awesome this book was! How it contained everything! The meaning of life! The secrets of the universe! The secrets behind the Kennedy assassination! A recipe for the perfect cupcakes! !!!! The secrets to obtain immortality! How to legalize gay marriage in NYC! EVERYTYHING!!!!!!! What I didn’t realized was that to gay guys that started to check my out the moment I walked into B&N were listening to everything I was saying! And they decided to take the book from me and use it to legalize gay marriage in NYC! At whatever cost!!!! While I was distracting talking with my friend about the awesomeness of this book the gay guys attacked me from behind! (no surprise there) and tried to use The One Thousand Years of Death on me!!! but what he didn’t know is that every time I leave my house I cast level 10 Iron Butthole on me! which gives me protection from foreign objects being inserted up my butt! Poor guy broke both of his fingers! But as I said they where willing to do anything to get this book from me! to keep me from learning all its secrets! From finishing it!!!!! and to legalize gay marriage in NY!!!! So they called from backup! Next thing I know I’m surrounded by a gay angry mob! It was all pink and stuff! But still scary!!! I didn’t want to give that book! Cuz I don’t know if y’all know this… but my BFF Esteban send it to me cuz they mention Hialeah in it! still! Long story short! I could not defeat the gay angry mob! And they took the book away from me! and then try to rape me! but my level 10 Iron Butthole was still in place! Shit! Which reminds me! anybody knows of an iron mouth spell? I could use one for future fights… shit! Where was i!oh yeah! They took the book! And did some stuff to my mouth that I dot wanna talk about… and now I will never be able to finish it! or know the secrets of the universe! Nor the recipe for the perfect cupcakes! But I know the gays in NY have it! cuz that same day they legalized gay marriage in NY!

( )
1 vote | Alfonso809 | Apr 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Lindsay Greshamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Avati, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Joy Davidman
First words
Stan Carlisle stood well back from the entrance of the canvas enclosure, under the blaze of a naked light bulb, and watched the geek.
Through waves of laughter the world seeped in, coming in slices, as if the laughter split at the seems and showed a little raw and bloody reality before it closed up again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0881842222, Paperback)

Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.

And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:36 -0400)

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