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Teatro Grottesco

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,407 ratings  ·  182 reviews

This collection features tormented individuals who play out their doom in various odd little towns, as well as in dark sectors frequented by sinister and often blackly comical eccentrics. The cycle of narratives that includes the title work of this collection, for instance, introduces readers to a freakish community of artists who encounter demonic perils that ultimately e

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Hardcover, 312 pages
Published November 30th 2007 by Mythos Books LLC (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
"His trembling words also invoked an epistimology of 'hope and horror', of exposing once and for all the true nature of this 'great gray ritual of existence' and plunging headlong into an 'enlightenment of inanity'..."
- "In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land"

reading the collected tales in Thomas' Ligotti's Teatro Grottesco over the course of a rainy, gray day and the rest of a chilly, glum weekend was an interesting experience. it certainly helped to create a gray, glum, and introspective mood, l
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Adam
Ligotti gets compared to those other masters of the horror short Poe and Lovecraft and he obviously loves their tales of deranged minds, half glimpsed horrors, and nihilism. The opening line of “The Clown Puppet” seems a wonderful parody of a Lovecraft opening. Ligotti’s true muses are actually Bruno Shultz and Thomas Bernhard. Fans of those writers should run not walk to the store/library to snatch up Ligotti before he vanishes into out of print limbo. Using Bernhard’s repetition and comic dis ...more
Bill  Kerwin

Ligotti is usually classified as a "horror" writer, but this label is much too limiting. Ligotti combines the eccentricity and loneliness of Poe (minus the romantic sentimentality), the bleak existential inner landscape of Kafka, the lunatic small-town atmosphere of Bruno Schulz and the mordant epigrammatic nihilism of Cioran. Ligotti is a profoundly disturbing writer, an unclassifiable talent right up there with such unique voices as Borges, Calvino and Lem. A must read.
knig
Bizarre, dark and delicious with eau de Lovecraft generously splashed at all the right pulse points. The stories are neatly subdivided and labelled to give a gentle steer: ‘Derangements’, Deformations’ and ‘the Damaged and the Diseased’, just in case I (e.g. the reader) don’t get it. Helping hand appreciated, but not necessary. The delineation of stories based on theme and structure is practically pock-marked.

‘Derangements’ is a powerhouse of the uniquely bizarre: unspecified locales, structure
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
It's a solid four-star read. I do not have the faintest idea how to review it, though, because spoilers (in the case of horror fiction) really consist of telling readers what to expect to feel or think about the stories.

So...here it is...if you've read my other reviews, and you find that you agree with me at least 70% of the time, this collection is very much worth your money and your eyeblinks.

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Szplug
This collection of thirteen tales can be labelled horror, but not in the conventional sense: these reflect an existential horror, in which enigmatic and superficially placid individuals—all suffering from Q-balls interfering with the orderly functioning processes of the mind—find themselves lost and stranded within unfamiliar and nightmarish settings that unfold like the dreams of a rachitic madman. The everyday world in which Ligotti's stories take place—this cramped existence itself—is never l ...more
Ben Winch
Now this really isn't bad. Dude can write, and though he's clearly dangerously in thrall to Thomas Bernhard, the substance of his writing is so different from that of the misanthropic Austrian that all is forgiven. At first I'll admit I was unsure, but at some point I accepted his vision - which to my knowledge is unique - and my consciousness of the slightly derivative prose-style all but vanished behind my appreciation of the world it creates. Here's a fairly typical (for Ligotti) decription o ...more
Adam Light
Teatro Grottesco was the first short story collection I read by Ligotti. I must say that I am glad I read it, but happy to unmire myself from the unrelenting, bleak nightmare land of his visions.
Was it a good read? Yes.
Was it all I that it was hyped up to be? Not in my opinion.
I did find many of the stories particularly delightful (The Red Tower, Gas Station Carnivals and Purity) but after several dips in the hopelesness of the collection, I found that it all became a bit repetitive.
A couple of
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Dora
The biggest red flag you can ever throw, I think, is to compare someone's writing to another, more prominent writer's. It's more likely to make me suspicious or impatient than anything else; really, is the best thing you can say about Thomas Ligotti's collection of short horror stories "Teatro Grottesco" that his narrative reminds you of Lovecraft's style? Since when is that a selling point? If I wanted to read Lovecraft, I'd read Lovecraft.

I'm not saying you can't do worse than this sleepy litt
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Jason
About a year ago, I made a commitment to read all the H. P. Lovecraft I could find. Finding it all was easy. You can get the entire short stories and poetry, including some essays, all in one volume for your Amazon Kindle for something like ninety-nine cents. Reading it wasn't that difficult either. If you've never read Lovecraft, or even if you have and loved it, I would highly recommend that you read a short story then go over to The H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast and listen to the correspon ...more
Tim Pendry
Sep 10, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone Strong
Thomas Ligotti's work has been hard to find in the UK. When I picked up this edition (published by Virgin in 2008 from the 2006 US hardback), I feared that it would be another general anthology largely duplicating the only other available text - The Shadow At The Bottom Of The World.

Of course, there are very many overlaps (most notably Purity, The Red Tower, The Bungalow House, Severini and Teatro Grottesco itself) but the two books are complementary and not competitive. Why? The 'Shadow' (to b
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Nate D
Jun 14, 2011 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists who burn their work and disappear
Recommended to Nate D by: carnies and fortune-tellers
It's entirely unsurprising to learn that Thomas Ligotti is from Detroit. His storytelling is suffused in a certain distinctly post-industrial sense of destruction and despair. This context is especially prevalent in the neighborhood descriptions of opening tour-de-force "Purity" which shoves several disquieting philosophical principles through a slalom of screwed-up events, ranging from explicit action to entirely sub-narrative suggestions. All told in the conversational voice of an eerily unfaz ...more
Jim
This is some of the worst writing I've read in a long time. I was only able to stomach the first five stories in this collection before surrendering to the obvious - this man writes like an amateur 14-year-old who is getting a C-minus in English.

First, the stories aren't very imaginative, they are underdeveloped, and unresolved. The writer repeats himself for no discernible reason, repeats descriptions unnecessarily, shows zero sense of rhythm in his prose, uses endless adjectives, uses word com
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Kealan Burke
$35.00/ Published by Mythos Books

Thomas Ligotti seems destined to go to his grave as an underappreciated author. Too frequently these days such speculation seems reserved for writers who really aren’t all that good, which is why they aren’t as appreciated as their fans, and often the writers themselves, believe they should be. Ligotti however, is not one of these pretenders to the throne, which is what makes his lack of commercial success, and/or acceptance all the more frustrating.

Then again, u
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Ben Loory

sometimes i come upon books or stories that make me question the nature of reality; that make me wonder about the possibility of other realms of existence, other ways of seeing or living or being, etc. but reading ligotti, i often get the sense that not only do these things absolutely exist, but that ligotti is speaking to me-- directly to me personally-- from that other realm, through the medium of this book, this story, as though taunting me to step forward and enter that place with him. it is
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[Redacted]
Great selection of seriously bleak stories about how you can't do a god damned thing to save yourself from a bitter end at the hands of the inexorable forces of the cosmos. Not exactly uplifting I guess is what I'm trying to say. The stories are often haunting and I still thought about many of these stories hours and/or days after reading them. "The Clown Puppet" and “In Foreign Town, in a Foreign Country.” are two standouts in a collection with no truly bad stories. Ligotti is kind of cross bet ...more
Randolph Carter
Kafka on steroids. I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would because, although I love Kafka, I've moved on in how I think fiction should address the nihilistic worldview. I'm in the Harlan Ellison camp where the best stories have flesh and blood characters that we actually care about. The stories were weird and somewhat disturbing but never creepy or scary. The atmosphere is more absurdist than horror. Ligotti is definitely unique in his fictional translation of the ultimate meaningle ...more
Karl
Some of the stories here are amazingly good. Others are just kind of good. All are interesting and well written. Mr. Ligotti's command of the language is awe inspiring.

The reason for only four stars is due to the "sameness" I felt in some of the stories. They took me to somewhere that I had been taken to previously with in this book.

To be sure there are some exceptional examples of writing here.
Tammy
Giving this collection 2 stars is misleading. The stories contain some beautiful prose and genuine spookiness. I recommend reading this author because what he does he does well. Unfortunately, Ligotti's writing is too dense and amorphous for my tastes. I couldn't finish the collection.
Paul 'Pezski' Perry
This is a difficult book to rate. As my earlier updates suggest, I started of very much liking it (although 'liking' may not be the right word, given the thoroughly unsettling nature of the stories). The opening story was utterly superb, and the quality continued through the next couple of sections - the book is broken into short collections of themed stories, the tales in each related to a greater or lesser extent - but, toward the end, I was beginning to find a sameness to the writing rather w ...more
Sam
I am a relative newcomer to Thomas Ligotti, but I love his work. Evocative and cerebral, his stories conjure feelings of dread and surreal alienation. I think this is why H. P. Lovecraft is so often mentioned in connection with Ligotti; their styles are vastly different, but work the same empty and dimly-lit back alleys of our emotional cores.

I believe this is the only Ligotti book currently in print, and it is only the second I have read (after "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World"). Like a l
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Gabriel
Ligotti's best stories here are much less "horifying" than funny. Maybe disturbing is a better word, but that depends on the reader.

I have an odd sense of humor, maybe.

But "The Clown Puppet" and "The Shadow, the Darkness," do, in fact (I was highly dubious of this claim) mine territory much closer to Thomas Bernhard than HP Lovecraft. And while the worlds are often bent (or maybe it is the perception of the worlds that are bent), there is more of the madman than the genius here: I kept coming
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Martha
Nov 03, 2010 Martha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of bleak, nilhilistic style
Ligotti is definitely a good writer. That being said, I did not enjoy reading this collection. I love gothic and classic horror style, I actually read those styles more than contemporary horror. Usually I love reading those for the suspense, atmosphere, and payoff, all of those more chilling than I find contemporary in-your-face horror to be. Ligotti does very well with the atmosphere, and sometimes with suspense, but there is no ultimate payoff.

Ligotti's stories are dense in description and fee
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Juan
Imagine if you could read in colors, if every mental image you absorbed from the page actually glowed in a certain color. If that were possible, which it is, Teatro Grottesco's color would be grey.

Why grey though? Why not black, which is most often associated with nothingness and, I would imagine, in most people's minds with nihilism. Not tragedy. Nihilism. This is what Ligotti brings us to- that nothing can be tragic if nothing has the worth of promoting a sort of emotion.

"Amnesia may well be t
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Clint
Jun 10, 2012 Clint rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I don't know if I've changed or Thomas Ligotti, I'll probably go back and read some of the old stuff soon to see. He was my favorite horror writer when I was in college, but then it seemed he just stopped writing for 10 years. That wasn't quite what happened, but he was publishing uncollected stuff and novellas and little things I couldn't be bothered with buying. So I was pretty stoked when I found this one. Some of the stories I'm pretty sure I read somewhere before, maybe in The Nightmare Fac ...more
Matt Garcia
Teatro Grottesco is a book with so much potential that essentially goes nowhere. While Ligotti is an excellent writer who writes with lyrical and atmospheric prose, his story plot lines leave much to be desired. Throughout the book I felt that Ligotti was trying too hard to impress others with his diction and literary expertise. The stories are mediocre because of their redundancy and lack of context. While the overall atmosphere created is quite compelling, I was grossly disappointed in the utt ...more
Conor
I would have given this a five since I'm a fan of Ligotti. Hell, I was calling people and reading them story parts. I'm also reviewing this after reviewing an entire page of reviews that average about 4.25 stars.

Q: So why not five?
A: Because there's less variety in Teatro Grottesco than there is in Grim Scribe.

So don't get me wrong; if you haven't read any Ligotti you're missing out. Use the google machine to bring yourself "The Red Tower" which is free reading online. It's a fantastic gem in a
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Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Το πιο τρομακτικό βιβλίο που διάβασα ποτέ. Δεν έχει σκηνές φρίκης, τρόμου, αιματοχυσίες, φαντάσματα, τέρατα. Έχει όμως έναν αέρα παράνοιας, ψυχικής ασθένειας, που πραγματικά με φρίκαρε. Οι εμμονοληπτικές επαναλήψεις ολόκληρων φράσεων, η φυσικότητα με την οποία αντιμετωπίζει ο εκάστοτε χαρακτήρας/αφηγητής τις αφύσικες καταστάσεις, η λεπτή περιφρόνηση που δείχνει στους διανοούμενους, οι πιτσιλίες από άκρατη φαντασία που συχνά διαρκούν λιγότερο από μια φράση, όλα αυτά μιλάνε για έναν αρρωστημένο κό ...more
Bradley
I checked this out from the library so I could reread the story, "The Red Tower," which also appears in The Nightmare Factory. I own that book, but it's across the country at my parents' house. A bunch of other stories from this book also appear in it. Plus I've read a few others that Weird Tales published while I was working for them. But I'm delighted to discover that the book has a few stories that I have never read.
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Literary Horror: June 2014 Read: Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti 69 39 Jun 28, 2014 11:09AM  
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Thomas Ligotti (born July 9, 1953) is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His writings, while unique in style, have been noted as major continuations of several literary genres – most prominently Lovecraftian horror – and have overall been described as works of "philosophical horror", often written as philosophical novels with a "darker" undertone which is sim ...more
More about Thomas Ligotti...
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“It has always seemed to me that my existence consisted purely and exclusively of nothing but the most outrageous nonsense.” 40 likes
“No one gives up on something until it turns on them, whether or not that thing is real or unreal.” 33 likes
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