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The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley
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The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  479 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
It's difficult to say what The Iron Tonic is about, although it is "known the skating pond conceals a family of enormous eels," and that "the light is fading from the day. The rest is darkness and dismay." Finally, though, The Iron Tonic could be seen as Edward Gorey's version of a winter afternoon in one of the great Russian novels of the nineteenth century.
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published October 13th 2000 by Harcourt, Inc. (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30)
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David Schaafsma
Dec 09, 2016 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
A gloomy little book for the holiday, with eels, infant death, and obscure objects falling. Who knows what the point of it is, though it looks like a 19th century novel, illustrated, but oh, without that elaborate and detailed plot. You will think, reading Gorey: Oh! What a sad, tormented childhood he must have had! But by all accounts, he said it was perfectly normal and happy. But in all the gloom, his humor rescues us:

"The rest is darkness and dismay". Somehow, :)
Dov Zeller
This is such a slip of a book, and with such a long and strange title (that almost exceeds the word count of the rest of the pages.) "Iron Tonic or A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley."

Iron Tonic isn't mentioned in the book at all and after I read through it and read a bunch of gr reviews which all kind of said, "we love his morbid humor" and such things, I didn't feel any closer to an answer to my burning questions (which may need to be treated with Iron Tonic): Why the strange title? Why the p
Eddie Watkins
Oct 08, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: visual-art
Like certain old 70 minute horror flicks and noirs Gorey's illustrated enigmas give you that quick fix of atmosphere and sentiment when you don't have the time or desire to invest in something longer but still want some potent depth and substance. His earlier books are masterpieces of detailed craft, humor, mystery, and genteel shivers. This one is all "about" grey Winters, ominous signs, aging, and infant death. Wonderful!
Aug 11, 2008 W.B. rated it it was amazing
I think I am not constitutionally capable of giving anything Edward Gorey less than five stars, even when it's a five minute read like this poem on the "joys" of aging.

Grim, grimmer and grimaced.

The usual Gorey formula.
Tara Schaafsma
Dec 29, 2015 Tara Schaafsma rated it liked it
Heather Brush
Oct 17, 2016 Heather Brush rated it really liked it
Classic Gorey.
John Whipple
Sep 07, 2013 John Whipple rated it it was amazing
"It's known the skating pond conceals a family of enormous eels."
The clouds above the grey hotel have no silver linings, and its guests are in dire need of a strong tonic. This brief book evokes a chilling mood that is both stark and hopeless. Certainly one of Gorey's more beautifully illustrated works, its dense imagery is full of grim augury and dismay. Despite the prevalence of infant death, wounded animals and general malaise among the guests, some of the language is quite beautiful.
Sally Tarbox
Oct 22, 2014 Sally Tarbox rated it really liked it
"The rest is darkness and dismay", October 22, 2014

This review is from: The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley (Hardcover)
A strange, gloomy tale, with full-page illustrations, each explained by a rhyming couplet. Set in a snowy land, near a sanatorium, the world seems full of hazards:
"The careful stroller should beware
Of objects falling from the air"
shows a carriage clock flying across a wintry landscape.
Eels, a deceased runaway orphan, a stone....peculiar yet strangely enjoyab
Jun 24, 2008 LINDA rated it really liked it
Shelves: books
Deliciously dismal, this book is an odd size with equally odd text and illustrations that have so much detail it blows my mind!

The best parts of the text:

'The way the others wish to go Has been obscured by drifted snow.'

'A venturesome but woulded bird Is making an unwelcome third.' (The bird illustration is amazing!)
Mike Spinak
May 12, 2013 Mike Spinak rated it liked it
The Iron Tonic is a series of bleak vignettes about a Winter day. It's amusing, interesting, and beautifully illustrated. It gives a great sense of ambience.

I enjoy all of Edward Gorey's books, and this is no exception. That said, I think this one is not among his best.
Feb 28, 2013 Tanis rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic bit of Gorey. I feel a bit of a cheat saying I've 'read' this because there isn't much in the way of text but the pen and ink illustrations are fantastic. I wish I wish I wish I could draw like that.
May 05, 2016 Benja rated it really liked it
Another Edward Gorey book in which something creepy looms invisible from picture to picture as a group of people clad in Victorian garb wander around aimlessly, trying to put together an insidious mystery.
First read ... sometime in 2003?

If you want a book that uses lovely illustrations and brief captions to explain how life sucks and then you die? Here ya go.
Feb 21, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
I really like Gorey's illustrations, but I feel like I'm missing something that would make the story cohesive.
Sarah Brennan-Green
Feb 17, 2015 Sarah Brennan-Green rated it really liked it
A bizarre little book with a bleak story. Gorey drawings and the humor found in them can make even the saddest story bearable.
Feb 07, 2013 Caleb rated it it was amazing
The quintessential Gorey; stunningly odd artwork, moments of macabre, quirky rhymes and a feeling of dread that is somehow enjoyable.
Dec 26, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
Edward Gorey is a favorite of mine. I love his illustrations and the words that accompany them. Gorey has a distinct, almost Gothic style in his art. A fun and fast read.
Alex rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2014
Kate rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2015
Richard Zimmerman
Richard Zimmerman rated it liked it
May 20, 2008
Samantha rated it it was ok
Aug 09, 2010
laura rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2014
Lorene rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2007
Conal Cochran
Conal Cochran rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2012
Jan 26, 2011 Mel rated it liked it
3 atau 4 neh
Maddie rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2015
Dec 18, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Bleak day in a cold place. Perfect to read by the wood stove.
Buttface_killa rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2015
Ryan rated it really liked it
Dec 15, 2011
Matthew Towles
Apr 18, 2012 Matthew Towles rated it liked it
I liked it.
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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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