NOCTUARY by Thomas Ligotti


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 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.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-7867-0003-3
Page count: 224pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993


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