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The Haunted Tea-Cosy

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,115 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
In the preface to "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens wrote that he tried "to raise the Ghost of an Idea" with readers and trusted that it would "haunt their houses pleasantly." In December 1997, 154 Christmases later, the "New York Times Magazine" asked our Edward Gorey, "the iconoclastic artist and author, " to refurbish this enduring morality tale. What is Gorey's mora ...more
Paperback, 66 pages
Published 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1997)
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A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. MooreThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Favorite Christmas Books
174th out of 796 books — 1,103 voters
Doctors in Hell by Janet E. MorrisHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingLawyers in Hell by Janet E. MorrisDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieThe Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Spectral Titles
55th out of 238 books — 57 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,884)
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David Schaafsma
Dec 24, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
In 1997 The New York Times Magazine asked Gorey to reflect on? rethink? Dickens's Christmas Carol, hoping for something Gorey-ian, and they got it: Creepy Bahhum Bug and a contemplation of The Christmas that Never Was, The Christmas that Isn't, and The Christmas That Will Never Be. Peculiar and smile-inducing. What's the point? That's the wrong question, dude! Ask Dickens that! Fun, an anti-Christmas treat that MAY, from a certain point of view, honor Dickens's message. Gorey was a Victorianist, ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Bev rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bev by: Sue at bibliosue.blogspot
Shelves: fiction, christmas
This Gorey masterpiece gives us his take on the Christmas Carol story by Dickens. Edmund Gravel sits down for tea on Christmas Eve, cuts a slice of fruitcake, and is immediately visited by the Spectre of Christmas That Never Was, the Spectre of Christmas That Isn't, and the Spectre of Christmas That Never Will Be. Guided on his spectral journey by the Bahhum Bug, Edmund is taken through his village of Lower Spigot and shown Affecting Scenes, Distressing Scenes, and Heart-Rending Scenes. Filled w ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Melee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Today while wiling away the minutes at the library, waiting for my grandparents to come pick me up, I found myself wandering the nonfiction section. The Haunted Tea Cosy by Edward Gorey caught my eye because of its small size compared to its surrounding books. I found I had to pick it up because A. its title amused me and B. it was by Edward Gorey. (A name that pops up every now and then but I really have no idea what his significance was. I'm still not sure, actually...) Anyhow, I read The Haun ...more
Aug 17, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Totally Bizarre.
I'm not half sure what I just read, but it was delightful.
Tara Schaafsma
Dec 29, 2015 Tara Schaafsma rated it it was amazing
Pretty clever.
Dec 22, 2015 Meg added it
Shelves: illustrated
carl  theaker
Dec 17, 2010 carl theaker rated it really liked it
Shelves: artsy

Subtitle - a dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas.

Gorey has Dickens meeting Kafka in an artsy replay of the Christmas
Eve classic.

Always loved Gorey's work on Mystery Theater.

The back of the book wittily says -

Many of Edward Gorey's most fervent devotees think he's (a)English
(b) dead. Actually, he has never so much as visited either place.

Well that was in '97. He is dead now (2000), but hard to believe he's
not English.
Dec 23, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
The British tradition of reading ghost stories on Christmas Eve continues. Edward Gorey wrote and illustrated this odd Dickensian tale. Have your dictionary handy: anent, subfusc, minatory, objurgatory, and cynosure!
Zena V.
I was just thinking about Gorey a few days ago. Odd to run across this. Should find another copy.
Dec 18, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amanda
Shelves: 2014
Well this is just wonderful and bizarre.
Dec 07, 2015 Carla rated it liked it
I like odd, and this is surely odd! Was looking for some "off-beat" Christmas reads for my book club. We are all supposed to read our own books and come to discuss this month. Very, very different. A retelling of Dickens a Christmas Carol and totally bizarre. Uniquely illustrated. I don't think my book club would enjoy this. I don't even know how I would describe it! It's very very short, so both my husband and I read it. It did however put a smile on my face!
Aug 27, 2014 Alaine rated it liked it
I have always been a fan of Gorey's illustrations, Especially those used in PBS' Masterpiece Mystery opening credits. This is the first book I've read that Gorey wrote. I will have to read more before I can make a solid opinion.
May 18, 2016 Tacodisc rated it it was amazing
Mmmmm fruitcake....

The affecting, distressing and heart-rending ghosts of Christmas that isn't, wasn't and never will be.
Jan 07, 2016 Peacegal rated it it was amazing
This is classic Gorey: witty and gently surreal humor that pokes fun at our worries and foibles.
May 18, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
My favourite Gorey. A clever derangement/perversion of Dickens's A Christmas Carol.
Dec 21, 2014 Susie added it
Love his artwork---and in an Edward Gorey way--a very positive message!
Wart Hill
Sep 23, 2014 Wart Hill marked it as to-read
Gonna try to remember to check this out tomorrow. Start Spooktober early!
Rana Ansari
Dec 12, 2015 Rana Ansari rated it it was amazing
Distressing? Affecting? Heart rending?
Funny! Weird! Abstract!
Mar 04, 2015 Azra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, funny, humor
It's Edward Gorey. What else is there to say?
Dec 11, 2014 Earline rated it liked it
The Haunted Tea-Cosy is a bizarre retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Story (sounds perfect for me, right?). Edmund Gravel is visited by the Bahhum Bug and is taken on a journey with the Spectre of Christmas That Never Was, the Spectre of Christmas That Isn’t, and the Spectre of Christmas That Never Will Be.

Overall I enjoyed the strange drawings and the concept of the story, but I felt like I should’ve enjoyed it more than I did. A fun short “Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas” tha
Feb 06, 2012 Cathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: just-for-fun
A strange little book whose subtitle is: "A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas". A very short book with illustrations by author Edward Gory. A parody of "A Christmas Carol", main character Edmund Gravel meets the Bahhum Bug, the Spectre of Christmas That Never Was, the Spectre of Christmas That Isn't and the Spectre of Christmas That Never Will Be. Cute Charles Admas-like drawings for the characters; the scenes the ghosts show Edmund make no sense, but I think that was the point. ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Megankellie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Edward Gorey Fans
Recommended to Megankellie by: My Subconscious
Shelves: candy, weirdo
I tried to read a book called "Poem Crazy." I will not review it because I was mad about the complete absence of humor and reality that humans have an excrement system. This basically is a judgmental way of saying "I was not in the mood for 'Poem Lukewarm Smiling'" and/or "I wanted to read a collection of jokes or pictures of people falling over but instead I chose to pointlessly suffer." In reaction, I spent 15 minutes with Edward Gorey. What a terrific weirdo. I needed a dictionary and wikiped ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Patty rated it liked it
This book fell into my lap at work and since it is quite short, I figured I would take a break and read it. It is a quick, irreverent retelling of Dicken's A Christmas Carol. I know others have retold this tale, but Gorey has his own style. I miss seeing new books by him, but the old titles hold up well. I was glad to read this again.

I recommend this to readers who like quirky books; those who have not encountered either Gorey or this book before or folks who are bah humbug on Christmas.
E.M. Epps
Jun 07, 2013 E.M. Epps rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Well, it's Edward Gorey. You know who he is, right? Twisted, clever, hilarious, unique? Again, as always.

'I am the Spectre of Christmas that Never Was,' it muttered, 'and I have come to show you Affecting Scenes.'

Review from my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank
Natalie Carey
This was a fun, little read. A bizarre and eccentric re-telling of A Christmas Carol, with no real moral or resolution. A bit morbid and melancholy, and beautifully illustrated, as usual.
I've read several different novels of Gorey, and so far I've been disappointed everytime.
I keep thinking that I'll enjoy one of them, but I really don't.
The only one I really liked was the ABC one he did, but I have troubles finding it. Perhaps it wasn't him after all.
Sep 15, 2009 Gerry rated it it was amazing
A pastiche on Dickens' A Christmas Carol in that three ghosts visit Edmund Gravel, in the role of Scrooge, who is also known as The Recluse of Lower Spigot. The Barhumbug, what a great name for a creature, appears from the Tea-Cosy to lead Edmund on his adventures.
Apr 03, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Gorey is always on form, and this is no exception. Reminiscent of an exceptionally bizarre "Christmas Carol", Gorey's penchant for strange, pithy descriptions of ominous events in the lives of his numerous oddly named characters shines throughout.
Dec 15, 2013 Emmy rated it liked it
Shelves: absurd
I don't quite understand it, but after reading it a few times, I have to admit that I rather like it. And I quite relished Gorey's use of large and/or unusual words. It added a nice touch to the general confusion of the piece.
Orrin Grey
Sep 24, 2011 Orrin Grey rated it liked it
Apparently this is one of Edward Gorey's more recent works. I didn't find the art style quite as detailed or arresting as I'm used to from Gorey, but the book was still a lot of fun. I think I liked the sequel better, though.
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Born in Chicago, Gorey came from a colorful family; his parents, Helen Dunham Garvey and Edward Lee Gorey, divorced in 1936 when he was 11, then remarried in 1952 when he was 27. One of his step-mothers was Corinna Mura, a cabaret singer who had a brief role in the classic film Casablanca. His father was briefly a journalist. Gorey's maternal great-grandmother, Helen St. John Garvey, was a popular ...more
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