Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crackpot Palace” as Want to Read:
Crackpot Palace
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crackpot Palace

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Eclectic is certainly an adjective that can be used to describe the work of the phenomenal Jeffrey Ford—along with imaginative, provocative, mesmerizing, and brilliant. His powerful dark fantasy, The Physiognomy, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; his novel, The Girl in the Glass, won the Edgar® Award, mystery and crime fiction’s most prestigious prize. Crackpo ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Crackpot Palace, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crackpot Palace

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  248 ratings  ·  44 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Crackpot Palace
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I seldom read short stories unless they are written by Stephen King or someone I like as much. And, if I read short stories I like them to be oddball, weird, fantasy, sci fi, horror or a combination of such. Something akin to O'Henry (who knew how to write a short story!) Almost a year ago, I read Jeffrey Ford for the first time. A friend highly recommended 'The Shadow Year' and I enjoyed it in the way I enjoy King and Blake Crouch. I saw a review of this somewhere and figured I would give it a ...more
Manuel Antão
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Nuanced SF: "Crackpot Palace - Stories" by Jeffrey Ford

There are two kinds of "favourite books," I always say. There are the ones that you recognize as original in concept, extremely well written, and strong in theme. Then there are the ones that say something personal to you so that you identify with the protagonist, live in that society, laugh at the jokes and thrill at the adventure, but also realize that the style may not be so goo
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Ford does not need praise from the likes of me. But I'm bothered that Crackpot Palace hasn't gotten more and better reviews here on Amazon.

Jeff has taught American Lit - the old stuff. And that's here in the writing: Irving, Hawthorne, Melville a solid splash of Poe are present as he shows us the Wonder and Hell of exurban New Jersey in "Down Atsion Road," "The Double of My Double is not My Double," and "86 Deathdick Road."

But he's not just a spec fiction Updike or Cheever. The range is wi
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
A wide variety of story types, legends, folklore, ghost stories, sci/fi and just plain bizarre(I'm still trying to figure out wth happened in 86 Deathdick Road. These are primarily reprints from other collections, with the exception of The Wish Head(which was one of my favorites), so if you've read Ford before these may not be new. But this was my first foray into Ford and it seemed like a pretty good introduction to his style.

The standouts for me:
The Wish Head
Sit the Dead
The Hag's Peak Affair
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cracked pots and holy fools
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
Jeffrey Ford makes me envious. His prose is proof positive that it does not take flowery language to make literature. The words Ford uses are by and large ordinary ones—apart from individual coinages that betray a sharp ear for what names should sound like. The sentences Ford writes are usually simple, his vernacular often common (he uses "busted" frequently to mean "broken" or "burst," for example). It seems as if almost anyone ought to be able to write the way he does. But the skewed stories t ...more
T.N  Kazo
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a little gem of a collection. Best read of 2017 BY FAR. Picked this up expecting surrealism A La Cameron Pierce, but I was totally blown away. There are some weaker stories in the group (Sit The Dead and Ganesha come to mind) either because they felt forced or lacking in some elementary or structural substance that I can't quite place my finger on. But, even the stories I would consider lacking are still delivered with a control of language unrivaled today except for Michael Chabon. Th ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Jeffrey Ford's writing, and I've been looking forward to this collection for a while. It was solid, but there was no story that wowed me the way the Empire of Ice Cream or any of a dozen other stories and several novels have in the past. The worlds were richly imagined, but there was a narrative sameness. I enjoyed the notes after each story. Very good, just not my favorite of his.
Gregor Xane
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
If you've not yet read anything by Jeffrey Ford, I envy you. This is yet another excellent(!) collection.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Ford comes through yet again, with a big heaping table full of beautiful, weird, fantastic stories that range from dark to light, from humorous to dead serious, and everything in between. One moment he reads like a postmodern John Collier, the next he's a Bradbury-infused Kafka. You won't get better fusion stories than these. Eat up.
Teddy G
Jun 14, 2013 rated it liked it
"86 Deathdick Road" is a perfect story.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The best short stories offer a glimpse of a world through characters believably compelled by the circumstances of the story to behave in the way they do. Things happen, but they tend to happen for a reason and the reactions of the characters go a long way towards determining whether the story is a keeper or filler. Crackpot Palace is full of keepers, light on the filler.

Hopping across genre boundaries like a traveler with a passport marked all access, Jeffrey Ford offers incredibly imaginative t
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this collection. I find that more and more i'm moving away from novels and towards short story collections.

This collection is part surreal fantasy, part embellished memoir, and part random.

I can only pick out a couple of stories that i absolutely liked and I think those were the "weirder" ones like: "Relic","Daltharee" and "The Wish Head". Some others fell absolutely flat. However the completed collection I feel seems to be more than the sum of its parts. The stories are subtly connected
Caleb Wilson
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection--Ford's best stories are an amazing combination of wistful, funny, gorgeous and melancholy. He has many styles, including the grouchy alter-ego narration of "86 Deathdick Road" and "Down Atsion Road", but my favorite is his "straight" fantasy, which I put in quotes because it's unlike any other I've read. "The Coral Heart", "Relic", "The Dream of Reason", "Dr. Lash Remembers", "Daddy Longlegs of the Evening"--Ford has hit upon a sweet spot here, the perfect combination of ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Ford, how I adore you. You have never let me down, you never disappoint. Sometimes I wonder where the hell you're going with a story, but wise from experience I lean back and enjoy the ride, and it always ends up somewhere unexpected and wonderful. You are unpredictable, but not whimsical. I trust you completely. This is more than I can say for most of your collegues, who lure me in with false pretences and then leave me dissatisfied. Not you. You always follow through. You sweep me up a ...more
Ford has the keys to the landscape of our dreams. Taking the ephemera of our pop culture such as comic books and strips, pulp science fiction, the drudgery of day to day living, our dreams, our myths, and turning them into a startling dreamscape filled unsettling evocative images, characters, wonder, and terror, a rich and occasionally quite horrific world. Each of his short fiction collections is a wunderkammer, a cabinet filled with curiosities, grotesques, and eerie beauty but presented with ...more
Kyle Muntz
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I didn't read all the shorter stories in this collection, but the two longest, Relic (a surreal, elaborate take on stories within stories) and the Wish Head (a vaguely surreal take on a mystery set in the 1930s) were brilliant. The other shorter were intensely surreal and writing in the gorgeous, languorous prose that Jeffrey Ford does so well. This is the second collection I've read from him and, unusually for me, not the last, and I'm still looking forward to working through more of his work t ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding collection of weird fiction. The twenty stories include horror, magical realism, fantasy, and even a steampunk one. Some are outright fantasy from start to finish; others are so subtle that it’s like they are our normal world, but someone has pulled it just ever so slightly out of kilter. My favorite was “Down Atsion Road”, in which an aging artist is pursued by a Native American demon. The scariest? “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening”, which will give anyone with arachnophobi ...more
Rob Boley
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This brilliant collection will dig its way into your imagination and linger there well after you put it down. It features the best vampire story I've read in a long time, a wonderful spin on the concept of miniature cities (Kandor!), and an inventive exploration of the doppelganger concept. Few authors have Ford's talent for taking old concepts and making them fun and new. But probably the best thing about this collection is that each story is its own world, yet somehow they fit together like a ...more
Bill Gordon
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ford writes weird fiction with bits of mystery and horror thrown in for good measure. Pretty much every story in this anthology deserves reading. I look forward to more by this author.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook, haters
This was pretty middle of the road for me. A few of the stories I very much disliked, two were fantastic, and one I wish could have been the whole book.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved some of the stories and felt less enthusiastic about others. When there was a crafted storyline with a beginning, middle and end, they were great. Some of them descended into chaos though and felt like, "I once had a weird dream so I'll share it with you" and were about as interesting as other people's dreams tend to be--which is not very. He's a gorgeous writer and I liked his style. I just lost a bit of patience with shaggy dog tales
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm really beginning to think I can't go wrong with Ford. This is my third book (second collection of his) and I have yet to encounter any story that I don't absolutely love.

This collection includes:

"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" which starts the collection off with a literal bang. This noir-ish tale concerns a couple doomed to repeat the same night over and over but determined to have a wild time doing it.

"Down Atsion Road" concerns Pine Barrens legends other than the Jersey Devil and revolves arou
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jeffrey Ford first came to my attention via the first story in this book. Along with Joyce Carol Oate's Fossil Figures, Polka Dots and Moonbeams was a real standout in Sarrantonio and Gaiman's anthology Stories. An unexpected slice of period piece, Polka Dots and Moonbeams mixes a swift cocktail of love, addiction and existential uncertainty within a backdrop that feels fresh. It's menacing, ambiguous yet strangely beautiful at times too.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this story appears to be ve
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
This series of short stories that have (mostly) appeared elsewhere all have some element of odd twist (think "Twilight Zone" or Bradbury's Illustrated Man). The problem for me was that they felt forced, as though the author was given a task - say, a vampire tale (as in "Sit the Dead") - and wrote to fit that task rather than writing a story that just happened to have some twist. By twist, I mean something a little off: a sermon with heavier overtones, a trip to a magic show that goes awry, etc.. ...more
Daniel Powell
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
More personalized metafiction than in any other of his collections, which means this one is filled with pretty-far-out-there tales. "Down Atsion Road" is a chiller. His story on doppelgangers is awesome, and you'll love all of the stories set in his old stomping grounds in the pine barrens. What really makes this a fine read is its literary diversity. Ford writes in an abundance of different genres, which is why I use his collection The Drowned Life as a teaching text in one of my creative writi ...more
Paul Lunger
Oct 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Jeffrey Ford's "Crackpot Palace" is an odd collection of short stories that range from the enlightening to the downright bizarre. The stories themselves have all appeared in other works & after most of them there is an epilogue describing the origin of the story. As someone not all that familiar with Ford's works, I'm honestly not that impressed by a lot of this although this collection is still more or less an interesting read. It's jut not a book I'd recommend for anyone not familiar with his ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, even though I normally dislike short stories because there is never enough information to get your teeth into. Not so with Ford! He has the talent of drawing you in and giving you just enough insight to keep your attention. I particularly liked the notes at the end that inform the reader about who the story was written for. Has definitely made me want to read more of his stories!
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
As Ford story collections go, I preferred The Drowned Life over this. This seemed to contain more of the "weird" or "strange" fiction. And I like stories like that but this collection felt disconnected. ...more
Bill Wells
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
About half way through this book I realized I had tried to read it when it first came out. I decided to go ahead and give it another chance, but I have to say it just didn't really appeal to me. I found myself being more intrigued by the explanations at the end of each story than by the tale itself.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I started with a free sample of this book on the Nook, which gave me about 3/4 of the first short. I was intrigued enough to go ahead and buy it to see how that ended. Each successive story seemed less interesting, and I was actually annoyed by the notes at the end of each story explaining the origins of it. A personal thing, I suppose - some people would appreciate that I guess.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fighters of Fear: Occult Detective Stories
  • Alice Isn't Dead
  • Night Theater
  • Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold
  • The Silver Collar
  • The Augur's Gambit
  • Above the Ether
  • The Devil in America
  • A Choir of Crows (Owen Archer, #12)
  • Full Throttle
  • Ring Shout
  • Infected (Infected, #1)
  • The Angel of the Crows
  • The Girls at 17 Swann Street
  • Northern Wrath
  • The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)
  • Blue World
  • Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy, #1)
See similar books…
Jeffrey Ford is an American writer in the Fantastic genre tradition, although his works have spanned genres including Fantasy, Science Fiction and Mystery. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humor, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he studied with the novelist John Gar ...more

News & Interviews

Whether it’s magic schools, dystopias, paranormal love stories, or contemporary explorations of important real-life issues, young adult books a...
110 likes · 112 comments