Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: Teatro Grottesco

A recent Christmas gift from my brother in law, I had never heard of Thomas Ligotti before this collection of short stories.  With numerous claims on the cover and elsewhere that Ligotti could be fairly compared to Lovecraft and Poe, I was greatly intrigued.

Indeed, in terms of his style of "horror" he is similar to both of the aforementioned writers.  There is little if any blood or violence.  The horror here is impressed upon the reader via the oppressive atmosphere or the strangeness of the given situation.

Additionally, the locales of each story is firmly set in the modern industrial world and reflects the "horrors" of current society.  The stories are effectively creepy and odd in a Lovecraftian fashion and in that regards I would consider the collection a success.

My gripe with the works contained herein is their "voice".  As all (or nearly all?) of the stories here are written in the first person there should be at least some difference in the voice of one story to the next.  Unfortunately there isn't.  Ligotti uses the same style, cadence and structure in every story.  The verbal repetition and other queues remain identical from story to story making the reader "hear" the author and not the character.  This detracts greatly from being drawn into the individual stories as it prevents the reader from believing in the story being told.

If Ligotti could refine his style to present a different stylistic view or different voice for the world he is creating from story to story his works would move that much closer to those of the authors he is compared to.

No comments: