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The Strange Case of Edward Gorey
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The Strange Case of Edward Gorey

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  322 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Originally released as a slim paperback 10 years ago (now out of print and fetching collector's prices), this in-depth illustrated monograph on the late, great Edward Gorey returns as a thoroughly rewritten, expanded and redesigned hardcover. Drawing from a multitude of reference and his own personal relationship to Gorey, literary heavyweight Alexander Theroux has accompl ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published February 14th 2011 by Fantagraphics (first published August 15th 2000)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
The Meta-Review; Or, The Review as Cannibal
Now, New & Improved with Post-Script


[Curmudgeon warning. You've been warned. I don't want to hear about it.]

a catalog and platform for Mr. Theroux to show us just how many obscure references
"Obscure" because you are not already familiar with them? Should Mr Theroux write only about what you already know?

The writing was pretentious and wordy to the point of using parenthetical statements to explain itself and define words for the reader
"Pretentious"?
...more
Anthony Vacca
Note: A longer and revised version of this book was published in 2011, eleven years after this slimmer version was published through Alex’s current publishing home, Fantagraphics.

A delightful freeform eulogy for Edward Gorey, the (sometimes) reclusive and eccentric creator of deceptively simple gothic picturebooks. Instead of approaching a biography in any conventional manner, Theroux tackles the enigmatic nature of his subject by relaying a constant stream of personal anecdotes and asides colle
...more
MJ Nicholls
This is a review of the 67-page first paperback edition and not the expanded hardback released in 2011 (to be read in due course for Theroux completionism). As a primer for the works of Gorey, this handsome monograph has achieved its aim—ordered are two meek-budgeted EG compilations—and is, perchance, even better in the longer version. EG comes across as the kind of fabulous eccentric and semi-recluse we all aspire to be in our darkest of hearts and Theroux’s prose is full of affection and fabul ...more
Eric
Joseph Cornell, Edward Gorey, and James Merrill seem to me to have led exemplary lives.
Anita Dalton
Review snippet: This book has interesting moments but they are few and far between, and those moments are generally content that will not be new to long-term Gorey fans. Still, it was pleasant being reminded of how eccentric Gorey was, how he eventually stopped wearing fur because of his love of animals, how he sewed stuffed animals by hand as he watched television, how he would do work for anyone who asked, even those who could pay very little.

But after one admits that this book has some charm,
...more
Reese Lightning
Gorgeously written, on the subject of a most fascinating character. I've always enjoyed Gorey's work, but I've now discovered a deeply kindred spirit, right down to his love of names. If you've any interest in how I personally function as a human being, read this book. It puts into words my very psyche, and is now an all-time favorite.
Emily
Jun 20, 2011 Emily rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
The book serves as a catalog and platform for Mr. Theroux to show us just how many obscure references and terms he could put to use while partially relaying conversations he had with Mr. Gorey. The writing was pretentious and wordy to the point of using parenthetical statements to explain itself and define words for the reader--there is something to be said for clarity and accessibility. More than a few times Theroux talks in circles, oftentimes recycling information; the disorganization of the ...more
Dave
What a book.
a must for Gorey fans and devotees. The profile of E.Gorey is done in such a marvelous and intimate way in this book, that all the interviews i have read simply pale. Mr. Gorey simply told snippets and peculiarities of himself in cryptic and misleading answers for no reason other to get a rise out of people. Theroux's book paints the picture I have longed t see about Ogdread himself.
I simply can't enjoy this enough, maybe it is Theroux's personal and intimate style of writing or his
...more
Beth Ann
A friend's recollection of Edward Gorey full of quotes and fussy prose prone to lists, commas, subphrases, dashes, and other stylistic tricks--almost as ornate as a Gorey drawing with its urns and clashing pattern wallpapers and carpets. Read the book slowly or some of its meaning may slip by. Sometimes the author falls into redundancy, but he is rescued by his love of subject and the dredging up of a good anecdote or zippy quote. Excerpts from Gorey's work and stills from his favorite films abo ...more
Dominick
I wish I liked this book better. I greatly admire Gorey's work, I think he deserves more attention than he's received, and Theroux speaks from a position of personal knowledge and intimate friendship across decades, so he ought to be able to deliver. But this book, call it what you will--biography, memoir--is just not satisfying. It reads like a random collection of recollections, not as a thought-out and organized elegy, or memoir, or biography, or panegyric, or anything really. It's formless. ...more
Rick
A bizarre tribute/biography of Gorey by a friend and collaborator. The tone is certainly Gorey-Victorian. Bring your thesaurus. This book is a pretentious name-dropping nightmare. It is fine when done to give a snapshot of Gorey's likes and dislikes, but way overdone.
David Gray
Having once had dinner with Ted Gorey I was very hopeful about liking this book. While it did provide a look at what it must have been like to be part of Gorey's circle of friends (which seems very small and exclusive indeed) I came away feeling that the author had relegated Gorey, over time, into a box labelled "nelly queen," and though I don't think those words appear in Theroux's book, it felt more and more that Theroux stopped trying to understand Gorey (apparently a very complicated and unl ...more
Laura
I'm a huge fan of Edward Gorey, and was excited to check this out. It's really more about the author than Gorey! I realize that Theroux is very intelligent and that Gorey could be kind of obtuse, but the book is practically unreadable. It's a series of biographical anecdotes about Gorey, but they're written using the largest words and most roundabout sentences possible.

I gave this one star for two reasons: I wanted to be able to list it here; also, the illustrations and photographs. I had seen m
...more
Samantha Waxman
A very strange little book. Mr. Theroux writes a biography of his longtime friend Ted, better known to the world as Edward Gorey (or Ogdred Weary or one of this many other anagrams). Of course I'm a huge Gorey fan (why else would I read it?) so it was fun to read about Gorey's likes, dislikes, and quirks. For example. Likes: Buster Keaton, food, iron jewelry. Dislikes: Star Wars, people who don't understand irony. Etc. That being said, the writing is pretentious, which is a big turn-off for me. ...more
Mike
I admire Gorey more after reading this affectionate insider's stories. His writing style is highly entertaining. (numerous typos)

Notes:
28..Shaw, on suffering
38..decidedly ungregarious, mainly because he was always self-booked for the day, drawing, writing, feeding cats, visiting a book shop, lunching, watching soaps/movies...
But why answer doors or phones? To appease the herd, the guttercats and vulgarians?
43..would do practically anything but sit down and work. With the slightest reason to leav
...more
Belinda
Look out folks--for once I did not choose a book that for some reason I absolutely loved. I did like it for it's information but the style was quite questionable. It's easy to see why the original of this book is a bit of a Holy Grail for extreme Gorey fans, which I am. There is so much information that is not available anywhere else--personal anecdotes that honestly really showed a lovely and fascinating picture of Gorey. He was adorable, eccentric, and a complete original. These were things I ...more
Adam
This book is randomly sectioned off into few-page chunks, and each section reads like an alternate version of every/any other section. Many contain wonderful stories or asides about Gorey, but they're often colored with the same supporting anecdotes. For example, I'm 2/3 through and some variation of 'how someone could like [sophisticated thing] AND have every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on VHS, I will never know.' has appeared 4, maybe even 5 times.

There are some weird, out-of-the-blue
...more
Allan
Theroux's biography of the eccentric illustrator Edward Gorey, who died in 2000 at 75, provides a privileged glimpse into the life of that most mysterious of eclectic geniuses. Less a biography I suppose than a rambling appreciation, a compendium of his eccentricities, there is much here to puzzle the fan who only knew him from his most well known collection, Amphigorey.[return]An extremely private man who nonetheless created a buzz wherever he appeared – dressed in full length fur coats, bering ...more
Pattie
This is a very strange little book (much like the subject). It's essentially a list of the things Edward Gorey liked and didn't like: art, books, movies, TV, and people's behavior, interspersed with his favorite sayings, a few pictures from his book and many delightful handbills from his many plays and puppet shows. As a huge Gorey fan, those handbills, which I've never seen, are well worth the strange mysanthropic tone of the book.

I didn't think it possible that there was anyone crankier than
...more
John Pappas
I was always was a fan of Gorey - from my first viewing of the opening sequence of "Mystery!" to grisly and morose books that pepper my bookshelf. This book was less of a biography and more of a critique/analysis or memorial of his work, ethos and personality. It was a strange book. It rambled from comparison to personal reflection to memories and quips of Gorey's personal life. Odd little facets came to light throughout the book, painting a picture of a character created through years of splend ...more
Judy
This was a quick little paperback written by the author about his friend Edward Gorey. The author and Edward Gorey are two locals for me so I was curious. I discovered I like the dark humor of Edward Gorey's drawings. I bought his book "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" - an alphabet book with drawings not really for children. Most people are probably familiar with his animation introducing "Mystery" on PBS. He died in 2000. There's an Edward Gorey museum on the Cape I intend to visit one of these days.
Laura
Not a poorly written book, per se, I just didn't like it. Gorey sounds like a trying personality. More panache than meaning...which if you look at his art, I guess it would make sense. Still, I was hoping for more. He seemed rather a paper-doll, flamboyant, sibilant-speaking gay man that liked to change outfits and say odd things just to be odd. Truth hurts I guess.
Gina
Essentially a book of Gorey's likes & dislikes, written by Paul Theroux's brother who knew the eccentric artist rather well. Though written a little high-minded (at times a wee bit pedantically off-putting) it's a must for any Gorey fan, which I am. & umm, my copy (which is the same one Goodreads shows here is 166 pages, not 68pages, FWIW.
Ellee
While I find Edward Gorey very interesting and like his books and artwork, this book is as much about the author (Theroux) and his opinions as it is about Gorey. After awhile, while the anecdotes were interesting, the style just grated. I'd recommend other works about Gorey first.
Johnny Confidence
What this book really indicates is that his cats were the only ones who truly knew what we wanted to know. I admire the desire to discover Edward the way the author did. I really enjoyed it. I learned more about Mr Gorey's character and his true loves in life. I wish there was more.
Atticus Redghost, esq.
Informative (and enjoyable for the information) but written in a style I found to be distasteful. This is not to say it was bad or terribly written -- rather, simply not to my taste.

I found myself browsing it and picking up kernels of information which I enjoyed wonderfully.
Cathy
I loved the anecdotes and insights into this fascinating artist, but I wasn't enamored of the author's preening obsession with his own enormous vocabulary. It's worth the read if you love Gorey, and it's got lots of lovely pictures, too.
Richard Horsman
A great remembrance of Gorey with the caveat that Theroux can be a bit elliptical and given to his own obsessions. I personally love it, but people wanting a more straightforward book on EG may want to look elsewhere.
Jdraut
Since college, when I first saw Edward Gorey's little picture book The Beastly Baby, I have been hooked. This is an odd memoir of an odd fellow. Am enjoying it, though the author can be too wordy at times.
Eric Orchard
Basically a book about what Edward Gorey liked and didn't like which I'll admit was totally riveting. The writing was at times a bit too arch.
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Alexander Theroux...: The Strange Case of Edward Gorey (2000/revised 2011) 3 11 Jan 08, 2013 08:57AM  
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Alexander Theroux is a novelist, poet, and essayist. The most apt description of the novels of Theroux was given by Anthony Burgess in praise of Theroux's Darconville's Cat: Theroux is 'word drunk', filling his novels with a torrent of words archaic and neologic, always striving for originality, while drawing from the traditions of Rolfe, Rabelais, Sterne, and Nabokov.
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