Shriek: An Afterword
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Shriek: An Afterword (Ambergris #2)

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  801 ratings  ·  74 reviews
An epic yet personal look at several decades of life, love, and death in the imaginary city of Ambergris--previously chronicled in Jeff VanderMeer's acclaimed City of Saints & Madmen--Shriek: An Afterword relates the scandalous, heartbreaking, and horrifying secret history of two squabbling siblings and their confidantes, protectors, and enemies.

Narrated with flamboya...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,821)
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Brad
We book lovers can’t help speaking of authors as “the next ....” We’re always keeping our eyes open for the next Jane Austen or the next Ernest Hemingway or the next Salman Rushdie or the next Ursula K. LeGuin, and we gleefully trumpet their arrival in our reviews. Of course, what we really ought to be looking for is the first China Miéville, the first Lisa Moore, the first Neal Stephenson, the first Iain Banks, the first whomever. When we find those authors who are truly themselves, we’ve reall...more
Dan Schwent
I've been waiting for Jeff VanderMeer to write a novel set in Ambergris since City of Saints and Madmen.

Thoughts from the halfway mark: The first half of the book is Janice Shriek telling the story of her brother Duncan's multiple successes and disgraces, from being a successful historian, to a pariah, to a successful teacher, to his fall from grace for a torrid affair with a student, as well as her own rise to being a player in the art world until her own fall. All the while, she alludes to Dun...more
Chris
A review on the back of this book name-checks Nick Cave and "Hitchhikers Guide" -- please ignore the back of the book. I can't imagine anything less like Douglas Adams than this book.

If I had to write a review of this book based primarily on name-checks, my list would include: Mervyn Peake, Edward Gorey, H.P. Lovecraft, China Mievelle, and Tom Waits. VanderMeer's Ambergris setting has echoes of Gormanghast's crumbling antiquity, but with more of Amphigories twisted, Gothic humor thrown in (thin...more
Brooke
I find myself thinking about Shriek in the same way I thought about its predecessor, City of Saints and Madmen. In other words, I'm not sure quite what to think about it. It has all the things that made City good: lots of atmosphere, a city so well constructed and populated that it feels like I was immersed in it, the feeling that this place existed before VanderMeer put his pen to paper. However, like City, Shriek doesn't really work well as a whole. Despite the richness of the setting, which i...more
Chadwick
Mar 04, 2008 Chadwick rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not you, certainly
Shelves: unfinished
I don't know, clever, but it just didn't do it. I think VanderMeer might be too fundamentally sane to accomplish the decadent style that he aspires to here. Get more insane, do more drugs, or be more French, Jeff. Otherwise you're S.O.L. Don't get me wrong, I think he can write, but I think he's not writing what he's suited for.
fo jammi
Apr 02, 2007 fo jammi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the jaded, the obsequious, the wise
Tarted up in a fin de siecle gaudiness and moldering crepe, Jeff VanDerMeer's latest tale of the decadent and unusual goings-on in the fantastical city of Ambergris promises raised eyebrows and wry humour. A few chapters into the book, it seemed as though the affair might collapse in upon itself due to the towering preciousness of it's central conceit: that it is in actuality a hideously distended afterword penned by the failed art gallery owner Janice Shriek, to be appended to a travel guide wr...more
Michael Harrel
I recently went through a harvest of Listmania lists on Amazon, from those I found on the page for China Meiville's "Perdido Street Station". It seemed like a promising way to break into reading the current "New Weird" fantasy sub-genre movement, uh, thing. (New Weird. It's a fairly ambiguous term, but generally, think Fantasy (often dark fantasy) with a more "modern" viewpoint and usually an urban (modern or pseudo-steampunk) setting, that sidesteps Tolkien's legacy when tracing its lineage (wh...more
Rafal Jasinski

Cholernie obawiałem się tej książki, bowiem przyzwyczaiłem się, do tego, że Jeff VanderMeer, podobnie, jak M. John Harrison, lubuje się w "dręczeniu" czytelnika na wiele rozlicznych sposobów: od prowadzenia fabuły niezwykle splątanymi ścieżkami - którymi podążając, nie wolno w żadnym wypadku pozwolić sobie na rozproszenie uwagi, należy zachować pełną koncentrację i czujność - poprzez kreację bohaterów, których motywacje są niejasne, losy zagmatwane a czyny irracjonalne, aż do doprowadzanie do k...more
Melanie
This is possibly the best book I have ever read. I loved the way the story is constructed. Janice Shriek, older sister of historian Duncan Shriek, tells the story of his life after he has disappeared into the underground of the city of Ambergris. Duncan has spent his life studying the gray caps, a mysterious race of mushroom people who were the initial inhabitants of the area. Duncan believes the gray caps are working on something sinister. "A machine. A glass. A mirror. A broken machine. A crac...more
Andrew
I finished this book while on a road trip, over a week ago. At this point I don't know that I can really set down everything I have to say about it accurately--this review would have been more detailed had it been written when the book was still fresh in my mind. That noted, I did like this book a lot. It used some of the layered, metafictional techniques that VanderMeer used in "City Of Saints And Madmen", and acted as a sort of sequel to that book. "Shriek: An Afterword" is a biography of Dunc...more
Simon
My first novel by Jeff VanderMeer, I wasn't sure what to expect, nor am I quite sure what I got.

Well let's see; it's a fictional afterword written by a fictional character (Janice Shriek) to her brother's (Duncan Shriek) book which is a historical account of a fictional city (Ambergris) in a fictional world. But it's actually more of an account of her and her brother's lives since the death of their father that chronicles the ups and downs of their personal and professional fortunes. This accoun...more
Res
The one where the life of historian Duncan Shriek is told by his sister, Janice, with annotations by Duncan after Janice dies. Abandoned at page 150.

I think there's probably a story in here somewhere. Things happen that would sound really exciting if I told you about them. But this is one of those books where you're given several unreliable sources and left to puzzle out what really happened between the lines of what they choose to tell you about, which means that there are layers and layers of...more
Rick
Jeff VanderMeer's wildly inventive new novel is the afterword to the nonexistent history of a fictional city. After completing the classic The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris, controversial historian Duncan Shriek disappeared, leaving his sister Janice Shriek to supply the much-needed afterword.

Janice Shriek's piece evolves into a memoir of the siblings: their family, their loves, and, most importantly, their failures. Banned by the Court of Kalif – this reality's Catholic Chu...more
Lee Battersby
A stunning achievement: two highly unreliable narrators comment upon each other, one via the afterword to a biography of the other (the book we are reading), the other via annotations to the book itself, with an extra layer of meta-text waiting to be revealed as the book progresses... all wrapped up in the singularly odd "Real World Plus One" milieu of the city of Ambergris. Highly intelligent, beautifully literate, constantly treading a fine line between gothic tragedy, horror, and faded, crumb...more
Andy Tischaefer
Well written if strange. Is it ok for me to say I like my weird fiction a little more straightforward?

It was successful in that it made me want to read more of VanderMeer and specifically about the city of Ambergris, but the story itself just didn't move me as much as I had hoped it would be. I expected more payoff, for whatever reason. When it hit, though, it hit hard - the war scenes in particular were pretty great and imaginative.

Overall I liked it and if the description intrigues you, it may...more
Mitchell
Three years ago I read City of Saints and Madmen, and added Vandermeer to the pile of authors who have a great imagination and some degree of talent, but who have a tendency to ramble on about boring crap and sorely need an editor (see also: China Mieville, late Stephen King). While working at my bookstore I was entranced by the cover of Finch, which is the third book in Vandermeer’s Ambergris series, and I figured I could probably skip the second one. Then, during the agonising collapse of REDG...more
Melle
Dec 03, 2008 Melle rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretentious "religion"-haters and tortured writers who enjoy pseudo-literary fantastical history
This book was an agonizing read -- unlikeable, underdeveloped characters; pathetic use of "literary" devices, including repetition, multiple narrators, and the use of braces; an unintelligible commentary on history, perspective, faith, politics; a fantasy world revolving around fungus... And the fact that character "Duncan Shriek" connotes (hopefully unintentionally) bland singer-songwriter Duncan Shiek.
Amanda
OUTSTANDING! will review soon- i'm so behind on reviews, hopefully catching up soon cause it's driving me nuts.
Janet
While I definitely was glad to step back into Ambergris, I didn't love this book the same way I love City of Saints and Madmen, and the main reason is this is just a heavier and more somber book. I loved the humor and interconnectedness of CoSaM, the way an aside could be either hilarious or terrifying. This book was still an interesting creepy journey, particularly the action sequences, and played in interesting ways with style with Duncan and Janice both being simultaneous unreliable narrators...more
Tim
I love mushrooms. Shiitake, chanterelle, among others. This book is about mushrooms. It's also about the trials and tribulations of being an artist in a highly centralized local scene. Maybe it's just the fact that we are both Tallahasseeans, but I feel that VanderMeer nailed it. All of it. The rise and fall of fortunes, the harsh realities of the art world-like having to know the right people, and of course the incredible and deadly power of gossip. Though these qualities can be found just abou...more
Jordan
The history of a weird city, told in the form of a rambling memoir, from the point of view of an aged author/socialite, with parenthetical comments written after the fact by her historian/explorer brother.

There is really no plot. Some big events are eluded to but never really explained. Many of the sections are just memories of the narrator's childhood, which sounds crushingly boring, but they're interesting because of the setting and the WEIRDNESS that is around the edge of everything that hap...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer is his first novel set in the fungus-laden city of Ambergris, which was introduced in the City of Saints and Madmen collection. We were introduced to siblings Janice and Duncan Shriek in City of Saints and Madmen. This afterword, written by Janice to accompany Duncan's The Early History of Ambergris, is a memoir, or autobiography, of their lives. It also tries to explain, among other things, Duncan's obsession with and theories about the underground-dwelli...more
Jonathan
In terms of creativity and inventive ideas it is very difficult to find fault with Shriek: An Afterword. Jeff Vandermeer is the kind of writer that makes a mockery of many a critics’ opinion that fantasy is somehow inferior to other literary genres, that for some reason it can never be respected in its own right. Vandermeer’s use of language is wonderful and a joy to read. Sadly the plot just doesn’t quite give his writing the justice it deserves.
However, it isn’t all that bad either. Througho...more
Loren
From ISawLightningFall.com

During my misspent youth and a fair bit of my adulthood, I steeped myself in more fantastic fiction that I care to admit. As one book rolled into another and another, a pattern began to emerge: When authors crafted their imaginary worlds, they tended to take one of two tacks. The first (exhibited to great effect by C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces and his Narnia series) borrowed tropes from ancient mythologies. The second involved expanding some extant reality until it be...more
Bernie Mojzes
I finished this some time ago, and have been trying to formulate what to say about it. I think there are many ways to approach discussing Shriek, each with its own merits, its own sets of what-it-can-say and what-it-must-remain-silent-about. I'm pretty sure that whichever I choose, I won't do justice to it.

This is perhaps the best example of telling a story slant-wise, of the oblique entry, that I have read. There is a grand narrative of the fungal invasion of the city of Ambergris, of mysteriou...more
Jay
I made the mistake of reading Jeff Vandermeer's books about the city of Ambergris completely out of order as I had read they worked as stand alone novels. They do but I realise now that they would be so much better if read chronologically. So I read the last book first(Finch, which was great!) and still haven't read the first one(City of Saints and Madmen) and after finishing Shriek wish I could induce memory loss via some sort of vicious, self inflicted head trauma and forget anything I had rea...more
Ned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sylvain Munger
I find myself giving this book 4 stars despite the fact that the actual story line didn`t grab me that much. I actually liked "Finch" a lot more.

However, the incredible writing skills of Jeff VanderMeer and the great setting more than makes up for any plot weakness because in the end this book IS about the city of Ambergris and its history.
It`s such a great setting that it actually takes over the story. For my taste, this is probably the most interesting make up world I have read about.
The aut...more
Sarah Sammis
The strange cover with an old manual typewriter covered with white mushrooms caught my eye at the library. After weeks of ignoring the book I gave in a checked out Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer. It's the story of Janice and Duncan Shriek and their unusual adult lives after being left emotionally adrift after the unexpected death of their father and their mother's mental breakdown.

It's written in the style of the serious bits of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It is further confused by Du...more
Chris
I read "City of Saints and Madmen" a few years back and thought most of it was excellent (the rest was a bit too over the top). So, last month I got a little burnt out on science fiction and decided to give this book a go based on how much I enjoyed his previous book. I'm glad that I did, to say the least. This may very well be the best fantasy book that I have ever read (or maybe just behind "Perdido Street Station").

Other reviewers seem to have covered the basic plot points, so I will just add...more
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Jeff VanderMeer's most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series has been acquired by publishers in 15 other countries and Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the movie rights. His Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world's first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won...more
More about Jeff VanderMeer...
Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy, #1) City of Saints and Madmen (Ambergris, #1) Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy, #2) Finch (Ambergris, #3) The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature

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