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Crackpot Palace: Stories

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  164 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
“Jeffrey Ford is one of the few writers who uses wonder instead of ink in his pen….A rare and wonderful talent.”
—Jonathan Carroll, author of The Wooden Sea

Eclectic is certainly an adjective that can be used to describe the work of the phenomenal Jeffrey Ford—along with imaginative, provocative, mesmerizing, and brilliant. His powerful dark fantasy, The Physiognomy, was a N
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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(showing 1-30 of 837)
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Nov 24, 2015 Randee rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I seldom read short stories unless they are written by Stephen King or someone I like as much. And, if I read short stories I like them to be oddball, weird, fantasy, sci fi, horror or a combination of such. Something akin to O'Henry (who knew how to write a short story!) Almost a year ago, I read Jeffrey Ford for the first time. A friend highly recommended 'The Shadow Year' and I enjoyed it in the way I enjoy King and Blake Crouch. I saw a review of this somewhere and figured I would give it a ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing
Jeff Ford does not need praise from the likes of me. But I'm bothered that Crackpot Palace hasn't gotten more and better reviews here on Amazon.

Jeff has taught American Lit - the old stuff. And that's here in the writing: Irving, Hawthorne, Melville a solid splash of Poe are present as he shows us the Wonder and Hell of exurban New Jersey in "Down Atsion Road," "The Double of My Double is not My Double," and "86 Deathdick Road."

But he's not just a spec fiction Updike or Cheever. The range is wi
Jun 23, 2015 Ctgt rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
A wide variety of story types, legends, folklore, ghost stories, sci/fi and just plain bizarre(I'm still trying to figure out wth happened in 86 Deathdick Road. These are primarily reprints from other collections, with the exception of The Wish Head(which was one of my favorites), so if you've read Ford before these may not be new. But this was my first foray into Ford and it seemed like a pretty good introduction to his style.

The standouts for me:
The Wish Head
Sit the Dead
The Hag's Peak Affair
Sep 09, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cracked pots and holy fools
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
Jeffrey Ford makes me envious. His prose is proof positive that it does not take flowery language to make literature. The words Ford uses are by and large ordinary ones—apart from individual coinages that betray a sharp ear for what names should sound like. The sentences Ford writes are usually simple, his vernacular often common (he uses "busted" frequently to mean "broken" or "burst," for example). It seems as if almost anyone ought to be able to write the way he does. But the skewed stories t ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Ford comes through yet again, with a big heaping table full of beautiful, weird, fantastic stories that range from dark to light, from humorous to dead serious, and everything in between. One moment he reads like a postmodern John Collier, the next he's a Bradbury-infused Kafka. You won't get better fusion stories than these. Eat up.
Kyle Muntz
Dec 06, 2015 Kyle Muntz rated it really liked it
I didn't read all the shorter stories in this collection, but the two longest, Relic (a surreal, elaborate take on stories within stories) and the Wish Head (a vaguely surreal take on a mystery set in the 1930s) were brilliant. The other shorter were intensely surreal and writing in the gorgeous, languorous prose that Jeffrey Ford does so well. This is the second collection I've read from him and, unusually for me, not the last, and I'm still looking forward to working through more of his work t ...more
Teddy G
Jun 14, 2013 Teddy G rated it liked it
"86 Deathdick Road" is a perfect story.
Mar 23, 2014 Darin rated it really liked it
The best short stories offer a glimpse of a world through characters believably compelled by the circumstances of the story to behave in the way they do. Things happen, but they tend to happen for a reason and the reactions of the characters go a long way towards determining whether the story is a keeper or filler. Crackpot Palace is full of keepers, light on the filler.

Hopping across genre boundaries like a traveler with a passport marked all access, Jeffrey Ford offers incredibly imaginative t
Apr 20, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this collection. I find that more and more i'm moving away from novels and towards short story collections.

This collection is part surreal fantasy, part embellished memoir, and part random.

I can only pick out a couple of stories that i absolutely liked and I think those were the "weirder" ones like: "Relic","Daltharee" and "The Wish Head". Some others fell absolutely flat. However the completed collection I feel seems to be more than the sum of its parts. The stories are subtly connected
Caleb Wilson
Jan 25, 2013 Caleb Wilson rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection--Ford's best stories are an amazing combination of wistful, funny, gorgeous and melancholy. He has many styles, including the grouchy alter-ego narration of "86 Deathdick Road" and "Down Atsion Road", but my favorite is his "straight" fantasy, which I put in quotes because it's unlike any other I've read. "The Coral Heart", "Relic", "The Dream of Reason", "Dr. Lash Remembers", "Daddy Longlegs of the Evening"--Ford has hit upon a sweet spot here, the perfect combination of ...more
Ford has the keys to the landscape of our dreams. Taking the ephemera of our pop culture such as comic books and strips, pulp science fiction, the drudgery of day to day living, our dreams, our myths, and turning them into a startling dreamscape filled unsettling evocative images, characters, wonder, and terror, a rich and occasionally quite horrific world. Each of his short fiction collections is a wunderkammer, a cabinet filled with curiosities, grotesques, and eerie beauty but presented with ...more
Nov 12, 2012 Bibliophile rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Ford, how I adore you. You have never let me down, you never disappoint. Sometimes I wonder where the hell you're going with a story, but wise from experience I lean back and enjoy the ride, and it always ends up somewhere unexpected and wonderful. You are unpredictable, but not whimsical. I trust you completely. This is more than I can say for most of your collegues, who lure me in with false pretences and then leave me dissatisfied. Not you. You always follow through. You sweep me up a ...more
Laura Cowan
Mar 13, 2014 Laura Cowan rated it really liked it
So well-written, and in the literary/fantasy style I love, but still following the late 20th-c male literary/fantasy tradition I don't love of the grotesque and macabre and often pessimistic or fatalistic. But undeniably good.
Sep 27, 2012 Laurie rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding collection of weird fiction. The twenty stories include horror, magical realism, fantasy, and even a steampunk one. Some are outright fantasy from start to finish; others are so subtle that it’s like they are our normal world, but someone has pulled it just ever so slightly out of kilter. My favorite was “Down Atsion Road”, in which an aging artist is pursued by a Native American demon. The scariest? “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening”, which will give anyone with arachnophobi ...more
Rob Boley
Apr 24, 2014 Rob Boley rated it it was amazing
This brilliant collection will dig its way into your imagination and linger there well after you put it down. It features the best vampire story I've read in a long time, a wonderful spin on the concept of miniature cities (Kandor!), and an inventive exploration of the doppelganger concept. Few authors have Ford's talent for taking old concepts and making them fun and new. But probably the best thing about this collection is that each story is its own world, yet somehow they fit together like a ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Jeffrey Ford's writing, and I've been looking forward to this collection for a while. It was solid, but there was no story that wowed me the way the Empire of Ice Cream or any of a dozen other stories and several novels have in the past. The worlds were richly imagined, but there was a narrative sameness. I enjoyed the notes after each story. Very good, just not my favorite of his.
Bill Gordon
Aug 12, 2015 Bill Gordon rated it it was amazing
Ford writes weird fiction with bits of mystery and horror thrown in for good measure. Pretty much every story in this anthology deserves reading. I look forward to more by this author.
Daniel Powell
Jan 27, 2016 Daniel Powell rated it it was amazing
More personalized metafiction than in any other of his collections, which means this one is filled with pretty-far-out-there tales. "Down Atsion Road" is a chiller. His story on doppelgangers is awesome, and you'll love all of the stories set in his old stomping grounds in the pine barrens. What really makes this a fine read is its literary diversity. Ford writes in an abundance of different genres, which is why I use his collection The Drowned Life as a teaching text in one of my creative writi ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Erika rated it liked it
Shelves: nook, haters
This was pretty middle of the road for me. A few of the stories I very much disliked, two were fantastic, and one I wish could have been the whole book.
Jan 28, 2014 Jaime rated it it was amazing
20 excelentes relatos de 20 en total. Jeffrey Ford es el mejor autor de fantasía moderna en las distancia cortas, en mi humilde opinión.
Jul 20, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
This series of short stories that have (mostly) appeared elsewhere all have some element of odd twist (think "Twilight Zone" or Bradbury's Illustrated Man). The problem for me was that they felt forced, as though the author was given a task - say, a vampire tale (as in "Sit the Dead") - and wrote to fit that task rather than writing a story that just happened to have some twist. By twist, I mean something a little off: a sermon with heavier overtones, a trip to a magic show that goes awry, etc.. ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it
I only managed to read one story of this collection: After Moreau.
It was an interesting read to see from the Animal Men and how they continued to survive and develop their own culture.
Only giving this 4 stars as I have yet to read the rest of this collection, but what I read, I loved.
Ben Loory
Jan 25, 2016 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing
"Down Atsion Road"
"86 Deathdick Road"
"The Double of My Double is not My Double"
"The Wish Head"
Jan 16, 2015 Adam rated it liked it
Short stories with different topics kept the read interesting. Some stories were enthralling, others not so much.
Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland
Jan 01, 2016 Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland rated it really liked it
Paul Lunger
Oct 15, 2012 Paul Lunger rated it liked it
Jeffrey Ford's "Crackpot Palace" is an odd collection of short stories that range from the enlightening to the downright bizarre. The stories themselves have all appeared in other works & after most of them there is an epilogue describing the origin of the story. As someone not all that familiar with Ford's works, I'm honestly not that impressed by a lot of this although this collection is still more or less an interesting read. It's jut not a book I'd recommend for anyone not familiar with ...more
Mar 17, 2015 LeeAnn rated it it was ok
I started with a free sample of this book on the Nook, which gave me about 3/4 of the first short. I was intrigued enough to go ahead and buy it to see how that ended. Each successive story seemed less interesting, and I was actually annoyed by the notes at the end of each story explaining the origins of it. A personal thing, I suppose - some people would appreciate that I guess.
Aug 06, 2013 David rated it liked it
As Ford story collections go, I preferred The Drowned Life over this. This seemed to contain more of the "weird" or "strange" fiction. And I like stories like that but this collection felt disconnected.
Bill Wells
Feb 18, 2013 Bill Wells rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
About half way through this book I realized I had tried to read it when it first came out. I decided to go ahead and give it another chance, but I have to say it just didn't really appeal to me. I found myself being more intrigued by the explanations at the end of each story than by the tale itself.
Bill Hsu
Feb 14, 2013 Bill Hsu rated it liked it
I was about to give this 4 stars after the first 100 pages or so. Then a string of more conventional stories took over.

I have to love "After Moreau", which begins:

I, Hippopotamus Man, can say without question that Moreau was a total asshole.

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Jeffrey Ford is an American writer in the Fantastic genre tradition, although his works have spanned genres including Fantasy, Science Fiction and Mystery. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humor, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he studied with the novelist John Gar ...more
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