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Grotesquerie

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Welcome to Richard Gavin’s “grotesquerie,” where fear and faith converge in eerie and nightmarish tales of transcendent horror from a truly visionary writer. The highly anticipated new collection of macabre delights, that explores dark realms of the fevered, fecund mind, and visits strange landscapes and vistas. These are grim and grotesque tales of terror -- modern Myster Welcome to Richard Gavin’s “grotesquerie,” where fear and faith converge in eerie and nightmarish tales of transcendent horror from a truly visionary writer. The highly anticipated new collection of macabre delights, that explores dark realms of the fevered, fecund mind, and visits strange landscapes and vistas. These are grim and grotesque tales of terror -- modern Mysterium Tremendums -- that open new doors of perception and reality. “Gavin’s writing serves as a testament that great masters once crafted great stories .. .and as evidence that they shall do so again.” — Thomas Ligotti


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Welcome to Richard Gavin’s “grotesquerie,” where fear and faith converge in eerie and nightmarish tales of transcendent horror from a truly visionary writer. The highly anticipated new collection of macabre delights, that explores dark realms of the fevered, fecund mind, and visits strange landscapes and vistas. These are grim and grotesque tales of terror -- modern Myster Welcome to Richard Gavin’s “grotesquerie,” where fear and faith converge in eerie and nightmarish tales of transcendent horror from a truly visionary writer. The highly anticipated new collection of macabre delights, that explores dark realms of the fevered, fecund mind, and visits strange landscapes and vistas. These are grim and grotesque tales of terror -- modern Mysterium Tremendums -- that open new doors of perception and reality. “Gavin’s writing serves as a testament that great masters once crafted great stories .. .and as evidence that they shall do so again.” — Thomas Ligotti

30 review for Grotesquerie

  1. 4 out of 5

    Well Read Beard

    3.5 Stars This feels like a new level of imagination. It was definitely horror but really, it didn't touch any of the standard tropes. This is my first experience with Gavin, and there aren't any other reviews of this book available yet. I wanted to see stuff like that to try to tell you more about Gavin's writing style. It's different, there is a different level of craftsmanship here. Bradburyesqe. I recently found Jeffrey Ford. I would liken Gavin to that, just talented, imaginative, next level 3.5 Stars This feels like a new level of imagination. It was definitely horror but really, it didn't touch any of the standard tropes. This is my first experience with Gavin, and there aren't any other reviews of this book available yet. I wanted to see stuff like that to try to tell you more about Gavin's writing style. It's different, there is a different level of craftsmanship here. Bradburyesqe. I recently found Jeffrey Ford. I would liken Gavin to that, just talented, imaginative, next level story-telling. Honesty. This book took be a long time to get through. It's roughly 280 pages, but the stories are dense. It isn't quick and easy. Had I rated it right then? I don't think it would have been as high as it ended up. I was kind of exhausted. Almost relieved it was over. My brain hurt a bit. I would have told you in that moment that there were a couple stories I really liked. Then after a couple days, I sit down to write this and I look a all the good stuff I marked. For whatever reason, my immediate reaction was wrong because I liked this story, and that story. I liked this about that one, and that about this one. I set out to only talk about the ones I liked in this review. Then I would flip the page to the next story, OHHH!, I liked that. Then the next story, same. And the next. I can't explain it. All I am trying to say is that my initial "flip the last page" reaction and my "sit down and review" reaction were completely different. These aren't campfire tales. These aren't simple stories to tell in the dark. Thomas Ligotti loosely says that "This is a testament that great masters once crafted great stories... and this is evidence that they still can." These are complex, heavy, well-crafted stories that I got lost in. I could feel the craft, the weight, the scope of these things. I could feel it. Baskin Robbins boasts the 31 flavors, but this book was the back room. It was behind the dark curtain. This was the dark web, next-level ice cream that you didn't know existed. Yup, I just compared fiction to ice cream. This sugar free, low carb diet is killing me. Let's talk about the stories and I will pick my top 4. Banishments Two brothers rescue an oblong iron box, a coffin of sorts from a river. On the very first page of the book "It came shimmying along the bends, using the current as its pallbearer. Under a sky whose grey conveyed a celestial exhaustion, Death swam swiftly." Fragile Masks A young couple set out for a Halloween getaway, but things aren't what they seem. When the lady's ex shows up at the same little out of the way bed and breakfast, things start to become more clear. Neithernor Our main character sets out to track down a distant reclusive cousin. She has discovered that this cousin is quite the artist, producing odd pieces from odd ingredients that are neither this nor that. Plays on the theme, word "unique". Deep Eden There is a great opening paragraph in this one. A search party finds a "luminescence" in an old coal mine. Cool bits about pit-canaries, like the old canary in a coal mine thing. The faded photo book on page 69 struck me. The people of the town woke something down there in the mine and now it was beginning to "awaken" the people. The Patter Of Tiny Feet A man and woman disagree on the idea of having children. "There comes a time in every man's life when all he wants to hear is the patter of tiny feet." Think about that for a second, take children out of the equation, and think about that sound. Without the idea of a child in the house making that sound, it's pretty damn frightening. Rasping Absence Scientific themes on dark matter. Science delivers our main character into the literal "heart of darkness." Scold's Bridle: A Cruelty An iron worker is commissioned to build a torture device, supposedly for historical purposes. "...a different invention born of humanity's boundless creativity and cruelty." The "She likes rabbits" part on 117 struck me as wildly disturbing. The ending on this one... Shiiiiiiit. Crawlspace Oracle A woman seeking investment advice from an odd, yet reputable source doesn't get the rate of return she is looking for. Sortes Sanctorum. I knew people kinda did this, I didn't know there was a term for it. Divining one's fortune through randomly flipping to a page in the Bible. After The Final Professor Nobody, "The true macabrists" - An intellectual of sorts hides away with his "companions" seeking further guidance from this "professor nobody". This wasn't one of my favorites, but the closing paragraph starting with "Who shall swallow these horrors with me?" was pretty damn cool. The Sullied Pane Xavier and his partner are visiting his childhood home for New Years. His mom, kinda lost herself with the whole empty nest thing. Drifting, not knowing what to do with herself, but there is a lot more going on here. Cast Lots This wasn't one that I loved, maybe you will. Notes On The Aztec Death Whistle Just what it sounds like. Archaeological notes on a mysterious South American discovery. Headsman's Trust: A Murder Ballad Nice first paragraph. We follow a young girl in servitude with the headsman. Travelling to villages to mete out punishment. The description of the "song" of the downward swinging ax on page 190 is pretty special. The block where the punished rest their necks is as well. Chain Of Empathy I had a hard time following this one. Three Knocks On A Buried Door "Never love thy neighbor" A man who has spent 3 months with a woman finds himself as the executor of her will after her quick and unfortunate demise. He has inherited her odd habit of knocking on strange doors. Pulls in the theme of "Drawing The Sortes" again. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you." She was still looking for the right door, and now after her death, so is he. This one started small and got BIG fast. It gave me feelings that I felt reading "House of Leaves". Vastness where it shouldn't be feasible. Ten Of Swords: Ruin Inspiring description of a not-so-beautiful morning on the first page. My favorites were: #4 The Patter Of Tiny Feet #3 Scold's Bridle #2 Deep Eden #1 Three Knocks On A Buried Door

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adriane

    Review to come. A lot to process!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The seeking out of and allegiance to sources of truth or falsehood, divination, darkness, the uncanny and occult laced together with the right words to set the scene and mood. These short stories that follow worked for me: After the Final The seeking out of, who he is, darkness and secrets of underworld, the revered one he worships, an allegiance to a professor nobody. There will be talk of plague and plague masks with experimentations, have things gone too far? Interesting take on pupil and teacher The seeking out of and allegiance to sources of truth or falsehood, divination, darkness, the uncanny and occult laced together with the right words to set the scene and mood. These short stories that follow worked for me: After the Final The seeking out of, who he is, darkness and secrets of underworld, the revered one he worships, an allegiance to a professor nobody. There will be talk of plague and plague masks with experimentations, have things gone too far? Interesting take on pupil and teacher and relationship of devote and the extreme one can go, laced with selective right words bringing alive the macabre. “…I cannot help but wonder if you might return to your more decimated pupils, the ones you left behind on this shadow-encrusted planet.” “Do you see how assimilated your teachings have become with me? Your “little lectures on supernatural horror,” as you somewhat dismissively called them, made me feel as though I had been granted admittance to the buried sphere from which I’d been wrongly banished, condemned to being born into this world.” Neithernor Conduits, art and mysteries. “She calls this series Neithernor, because they are neither one thing nor the other. One sees two things at once, you might say.” “Night fell and I tried to sort my thoughts into some semblance of a plan. I couldn’t even begin to judge whether or not my intentions were pure. Cousin Vera had become swallowed up in a life that I can only describe as leprous. If I could not free her, I could at least confirm that she was not in imminent danger. I believe people have the right to diminish themselves if they so desire.” “It seems my life waxes then wanes. For a time my cup runneth over, then is drained, after which I strive and scramble to replenish that which has been lost.” Fragile masks Short stay in a B & B, it is fall and Halloween, catatonic and strange encounters await. Crawl Space Oracle Seeking out advice and monies involved years past between two women. Could they adventure be a grave mistake? Sortes sanctorum Child of Babel “Alchemy of sound and isolation,” and living nightmares await one woman. Cast Lots Sleep, dream and nightmare. Dream-mire. Notes on the Aztec Death Whistle The dark journey of one whistle in another’s hand, a dubious professor with another side to him. Voice of dammed commence thus forth into world via a whistle. Review @ https://more2read.com/review/grotesquerie-by-richard-garvin

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I chose this entirely for the incredibly cool cover. I was looking for something new for Halloween, was immediately drawn in by the cover on my library's Overdrive homepage, and checked it out after discovering it is a horror short story collection. I explain all that to let you fully understand I had no idea what I was getting into before reading. Verdict? You probably all know a person who makes these really obscure references, either jokes or metaphors, and then seems surprised when you don't I chose this entirely for the incredibly cool cover. I was looking for something new for Halloween, was immediately drawn in by the cover on my library's Overdrive homepage, and checked it out after discovering it is a horror short story collection. I explain all that to let you fully understand I had no idea what I was getting into before reading. Verdict? You probably all know a person who makes these really obscure references, either jokes or metaphors, and then seems surprised when you don't get it. "Like, how could you not understand that my joke referred to the B side of this record from 1972 and was therefore hilarious?!?" I married that person to whom I regularly reply, "Honey, you know I'm just not that cool." Although it's usually just something I joke back to my husband, this time I'm saying it to this book. I just don't think I'm cool enough to get it. There are some truly horrific images using some incredibly beautiful language/writing; yet, without the full context for those scenes I spent too much time after each story trying to figure out what I missed or why I didn't "get it". In addition to my lack of coolness, I found the stories too even. That is, there aren't any that stand out, with each hitting the same macabre notes. The best collections vary in tone, but this one stays like a deep annoying buzz throughout the entire book, from word 1 until the end. Gavin has a beautiful command of language, and for that I may seek out other works. But, I'm not cool enough to think this was better that just OK.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Logan Noble

    Lyrical and utterly powerful horror fiction; the collection’s title is a warning and invitation of the stories inside. There are quite a few stories that stand out for me. This is perfect Halloween reading for 2020.

  6. 5 out of 5

    S O'Keeffe

    Gavin's writing is idiosyncratic and obsessed with the obscure. These stories are unique and compelling and worth reading if you're a fan of short horror fiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    I always grab the Richard Gavin collections that come out every few years and am never disappointment. Some of these stories have a very dark feel that swallows you into the unnameable. The sense of dread or helplessness can sometimes be quite astounding. Like many reviews say its hard for me to describe a lot of these stores. They're more to be read and experienced first hand and see the effect they have on you. As well as every previous volume by Gavin I've read. I'd highly recommend this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Hollen

    Excellent set of stories Its hard for me to describe this work. The author weaves a spell that leaves me disquieted in truely weird ways. Forced to eat chilled delicacies blindfolded in an immense mansion buried in a back yard. Or a "High Weird" tale so saturated with tarot symbolism that I'm still not sure of what caused the gooseflesh to rise.

  9. 5 out of 5

    S.D. McKinley

    NOTE: These two reviews, contained in this review are focusing on the short stories in this collection titled "Banishments" and "Neithernor". This is NOT a review for the whole book. Banishments: This review covers the first story within the grotesquerie collection titled Banishments, which is apart of my Halloween reading list. I chose to review the short story instead of reviewing the whole book because I am treating this as somewhat of a study to identify the core elements and atmosphere in wri NOTE: These two reviews, contained in this review are focusing on the short stories in this collection titled "Banishments" and "Neithernor". This is NOT a review for the whole book. Banishments: This review covers the first story within the grotesquerie collection titled Banishments, which is apart of my Halloween reading list. I chose to review the short story instead of reviewing the whole book because I am treating this as somewhat of a study to identify the core elements and atmosphere in writings. This book can be considered heavier reading, but I knew what I was getting myself into before I started. Banishments is a truly interesting story with murky elements and emotional ties in setting to a broken home, but more importantly what is found floating down a stormy, rushing river. And the writings here in Banishments has a classical type feel that left me in somewhat of a confused state when certain elements were finally introduced. However, I feel like that is not at fault of the writer, but my own as my assumptions led me to believe, based on what was presented that at first had me thinking this story took place in some distant world. A ton of room is left for imagination in Banishments without feeling like it’s an incomplete story. I love the fact that this story makes me go “Wait…” did I catch that correctly? For what lies at the root of that is the foundation of what I am, then I decide how to react to that, which should have a different effect on each person that reads. This story ties many things together in somewhat of a genius collaboration of thought, relationships, the arcane, emotion, setting, horror and self reflection. Some words I had to look up and I like that, to a degree. I was second guessing myself at several different parts and whether I should or should not be feeling a certain way, in most time I do on my own, but the text here reinforced that behavior and to my surprise I was justifying my own self reflection while reading the text because I was wrong about a couple of things at first. This presents a marvel on it’s own merit. Several actions by the main characters surrounding the dialog of Will and Dylan accentuated the emotional impact the story had on me and fit well, so congratulations to the author for tying those two elements together quite nicely. A lot of times it is the small details authors need to pay attention to make the story fit snugly for interpretation to us as a reader and that attention to detail here adds great value. The only negative thing I can say is that a little more variation to the start of paragraphs or sentences could have been better, but these are minor inconveniences and happened infrequently. This did not affect my star rating. Recommendation: This type of writing is not for everyone. With that being said, I categorized this as a prize in literature and I give Banishments, the first short story in the collection, grotesquerie ★★★★★ 5 stars out of 5. Neithernor: In my review for the first story in grotesquerie titled Banishments, I don’t think I mentioned, but these stories are mostly written in a classical form. It’s one that you don’t see often these days. It is a bit heavier of reading, sometimes I had to go back over things, but with this comes a reward. What is also rewarding about these stories is, albeit not excessive, is that their are gems. Gems in the form of interesting words, gems in the form of complex thought, gems in the form of references to other mediums of art, etc. I really can’t say enough about how I value gems in all books like that, not just this short story. Things that make you think, wonder and research to learn and grow. I fear that a lot of modern books won’t put gems in a book for reasons I can only assume, but I think it is a mistake, especially when warranted. I haven’t read a lot of classic literature, even in the horror genre such as H.P. Lovecraft or similar, not enough to speak about it. But, if I were to assume what it would be like and to recall a solid memory about it, it would be close in form to what Gavin has done here. This is classy horror, no cussing or vulgarities in that respect. It’s intellectual reading. Again, if you are apt to assume, Gavin will prove you wrong. I think this could be easily mistaken for confusing writing, but I don’t think that is the case here. I think it would be a mistake to state so. Gavin has a gift for being paradoxically simple and complex at the same time and this gets you out of your comfort zone, which I think is a great thing in all aspects of life when applied correctly and on your own will. This story has elements of distant, slightly unfamiliar family. Mystical art with intimate relationships started on the basis of deception and most importantly all these elements are wrapped up in a quest to unite with family. The story is very believable and thought out well. Internal dialog and thoughts also hold genuinity. The ending is paradoxical and it is written as such. Recommendation: Gavin produces a vivid, atmospheric writing that is genuine, paradoxical and grim; it’s filled with reading gems of different types, dark and unsettling things and even a couple of hints of humor. I enjoyed this just as much as I did my first review of the first short story in grotesquerie titled Basishments. I give it ★★★★★ 5 stars out of 5.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Babanski

    A smart, moody and poetic tour of literary weirdness This is the second collection by Richard Gavin and it shows incredible power of his stories. It's almost as if I've read a recently discovered secret stash of stories from Edgar Allan Poe. The prose is very inventive, never boring or stale. He is one of the rare breed of finding his own ways with how to program your fantasy to render most memorable scenes and images. It's hard to point out any highlights because I enjoyed the entire book very, A smart, moody and poetic tour of literary weirdness This is the second collection by Richard Gavin and it shows incredible power of his stories. It's almost as if I've read a recently discovered secret stash of stories from Edgar Allan Poe. The prose is very inventive, never boring or stale. He is one of the rare breed of finding his own ways with how to program your fantasy to render most memorable scenes and images. It's hard to point out any highlights because I enjoyed the entire book very, very much. Very highly recommended for lovers of literary weird and subtle, poetic horror.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Housley

    Beautiful and strange. I am excited to read more from him.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ian Bain

    https://www.deadheadreviews.com/revie... https://www.deadheadreviews.com/revie...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dagger of the Mind

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Coleman

  15. 5 out of 5

    Donald Hicks

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Thompson

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Langan

  18. 5 out of 5

    James Armstrong

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Perry

  21. 4 out of 5

    Literary Lion

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cail

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Nolan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joe Scipione

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christine G.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Konstantinos

  27. 4 out of 5

    B

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Ersson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rick

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Ward

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