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Teatro Grottesco

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  2,484 Ratings  ·  269 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 ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published November 30th 2007 by Mythos Books LLC (first published 2006)
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Amadesu There is a paperback version published by Virgin Books which you can get from amazon for £8.99.

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Bill  Kerwin
Nov 28, 2008 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

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.
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
Jack Tripper
This was the collection that made me a Ligotti fan for life. While I'd already owned and read his previous collections -- and for the most part enjoyed them -- it wasn't until I cracked Teatro Grottesco open in 2008 that something unlocked in my brain, allowing me to become fully absorbed in his nightmarish worldview and disorienting prose, both here and when re-reading his earlier collections.

Ligotti had definitely evolved a lot as a writer by this period (mid-90s to early-2000s). Mostly gone i
Jan 25, 2015 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chained-books
For reasons unknown to me (or hidden from me? Once can never be sure.) this past year or so has been chock full of existentialist texts. From philosophical surveys to plays to role-playing supplements to novels to novels that were later turned into movies, I seem to be crawling my way up a mountain of stark realizations, worrisome revelations brought forth by prophets of . . . not gloom per-se, at least not in the sense of utter nihilism and hopelessness, but soothsayers of "facing that which yo ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2012 knig rated it really liked it
Shelves: bizarro, 2012
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Dec 20, 2015 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies, horror
To be honest, I have no clear idea what to say about this book. It isn't easy to read even if it's not very long. As soon as I started reading it, I realized this won't be one of those anthologies to breeze through. It demands your full attention and, let's be honest, your patience. So I decided not to mark this as 'currently reading' to avoid pressure and to take my time with it one or two stories at a time. It worked well for me.

The thing is, I can't say I loved it. There is nothing to love (e
Ben Winch
Aug 19, 2012 Ben Winch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2010 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus
Nov 15, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. 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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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
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
Jun 09, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
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
May 17, 2010 Dora rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 23, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it
On Reading Thomas Ligotti: A Confession

over a space of many months, I poured over .... no, agonized over ... the words of this cold, aloof misanthrope. It did not lighten my feelings about the world in the slightest. But in a strange, difficult to elucidate manner, it made me feel better about myself.

There have been points in life when your humble reviewer has been called "negative", "pessimistic", "dark", "emotionally stunted", "lacking in affection". Sometime in my late teen years, I even star
Nate D
Apr 28, 2011 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  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
Feb 23, 2014 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tim Pendry
Sep 10, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it it was amazing
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
Kealan Burke
May 04, 2008 Kealan Burke rated it really liked it
$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
Ben Loory
Dec 31, 2008 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 15, 2016 Diletta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Teatro Grottesco è un terreno apparentemente asettico su cui riescono però a sorgere orrori fin troppo fertili. Affrontare la lettura di questo romanzo è come metter mano dentro un barattolo il cui contenuto non ci è noto.
"Parole d'ordine": insensatezza, fili invisibili, luci tremule, strade fredde, carnevali, giostre guaste, stanze umide, infestazioni, soglie (da non varcare mai), caffè angusti.
Il lirismo raggiunge livelli che vi faranno venire i brividi. Thomas Ligotti riesce poi a mescolare
Douglas Hackle
Sep 27, 2012 Douglas Hackle rated it it was amazing



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
Randolph Carter
Jan 18, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it really liked it
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
Ed [Redacted]
Mar 24, 2012 Ed [Redacted] rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
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
Apr 06, 2009 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Teatro Grottesco, a collection of short stories, is split into three categories: Derangements, Deformations and the Damaged & the Diseased. This is the first time I've read anything from this author (whom I've heard so many goods things said) and I'm really enjoying it so far. I find his style very easy to read (although he does belabour the point sometimes) and he successfully manages to weave a haunting atmosphere in a most indirect way.

What particularly drew my attention to Ligotti is tha
Sep 19, 2011 Ronald rated it it was amazing
In my quest of finding good, weird fiction I kept seeing Thomas Ligotti mentioned in high regard. I didn't find his books readily available at bookstores, so I eventually got one of his works, _Teatro Grottesco_, for my ereader.

These well written stories are more on the side of psychological/existential horror. You are not going to read about chain saw wielding killers here.

His story "Gas Station Carnivals" would make a fine episode for a science fiction/fantasy anthology TV show. (I firmly beli
Paul  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
Haralambi Markov
Apr 19, 2015 Haralambi Markov rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, dnf
I wish I loved every single story here, because this collection has some strong moments. "The Red Tower" and "The Town Manager" are magnificent, but halfway through, reading the longer works is a struggle. I think that if encountered in small doses over longer periods of time, Ligotti's writing would be a lot easier to digest. Even though the collection is short, it's a bit too much to handle.

His style is detached and dissociated, which works for the type of stories he tells, but feels like a t
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Literary Horror: June 2014 Read: Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti 69 55 Jun 28, 2014 11:09AM  
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Thomas Ligotti 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 similar to gothic fiction. ...more
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“It has always seemed to me that my existence consisted purely and exclusively of nothing but the most outrageous nonsense.” 62 likes
“No one gives up on something until it turns on them, whether or not that thing is real or unreal.” 49 likes
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