Crackpot Palace: Stories

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Overview

From the unparalleled imagination of award-winning author Jeffrey Ford come twenty short stories (one, "The Wish Head," written expressly for this collection) that boldly redefine the world. Crackpot Palace is a sumptuous feast of the unexpected—an unforgettable journey that will carry readers to amazing places, though at times the locales may seem strangely familiar, almost like home. Whether he's tracking ghostly events on the border of New Jersey's mysterious Pine Barrens or following a well-equipped automaton...

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Crackpot Palace: Stories

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Overview

From the unparalleled imagination of award-winning author Jeffrey Ford come twenty short stories (one, "The Wish Head," written expressly for this collection) that boldly redefine the world. Crackpot Palace is a sumptuous feast of the unexpected—an unforgettable journey that will carry readers to amazing places, though at times the locales may seem strangely familiar, almost like home. Whether he's tracking ghostly events on the border of New Jersey's mysterious Pine Barrens or following a well-equipped automaton general into battle, giving a welcome infusion of new blood to the hoary vampire trope or exposing the truth about what really went down on Dr. Moreau's Island of Lost Souls, Jeffrey Ford has opened a door into a dark and fantastic realm where dream and memory become one.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Ford's (The Girl in the Glass) latest is a collection of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery tales that emerge from the "crackpot palace" of the author's macabre imagination. The 20 stories—most previously published—veer from tired imitations like the teen vampire romp "Sit the Dead" to the more adult allegory of a threatened marriage in "86 Deathlick Road". Ford creates dense alternate worlds filled with magic, curses and dangerous technology in stories such as the Asimovian "The Seventh Expression of the Robot General" about a sentient killing machine that longs for its own destruction, or the excellent "The Wish Head," about a scarred detective who investigates the mysterious death of a beautiful young woman. Themes of science and religion also abound, as in "The Dream of Reason" about a scientist who destroys a mind for knowledge, or in the narratively ambitious "Relic," in which a flawed priest loses his church's saintly artifact to a thief. The volume's strangest feature is the self-reflective post-scripts that follow most of the stories, giving the author's commentary on each one's provenance and meaning. Scattered throughout are shivers, smiles, and thought-provoking conceits, but with the proliferation of time-worn pulp themes (e.g., Indian curses and doppelgangers, the stories' over-earnestness and superficiality are distracting. (Aug.)
New York Newsday
“We should be grateful that alongside the firm of Updike, Cheever, Ford & Company there exists, in both fiction and film, an American tradition that depicts the suburbs as places of wonder rather than stultification, discovery rather than predictability.”
Booklist
“Surreal, unsettling, and more than a little weird. Ford has a rare gift for evoking mood with just a few well-chosen words and for creating living, breathing characters with only a few lines of dialogue.”
Rocky Mountain News
“The 16 stories in this collection are a perfect introduction to Ford’s work and illustrate the vast range of his imagination…If you haven’t discovered Ford, it’s time you did. His carefully crafted novels and short stories are all top-notch. Grade: A.”
Louisville Courier Journal
“Jeffrey Ford’s latest triumph, THE SHADOW YEAR, is as haunting as it is humorous…readers will recognize real talent in Ford’s vivid, unerring voice.”
Boston Globe
“Children are the original magic realists. The effects that novelists of a postmodern bent must strive for come naturally to the young, a truth given inventive realization in this wonderful quasi-mystery tale by Jeffrey Ford.”
Gawker
“A collection of surreal, melancholy stories dealing with everything from worlds of the drifting dead to drunken tree parties. Ford is the author of the superlative, creepy Well-Built City trilogy and his writing is both powerful and disturbing in the best possible way.”
io9
“[Ford’s] writing is both powerful and disturbing in the best possible way.”
New York Times
“Ford travels deep into the wild country that is childhood in this novel …the observations and adventures of these sharp, wayward children provide more than enough depth to be satisfying.”
Terri Windling
“The trilogy [The Physiognomy, Memoranda, and The Beyond] is simply brilliant and constitutes a modern masterwork of fantasy.”
Nick Gevers
“The Shadow Year captures the totality of a lived period, its actualities and its dreams, its mundane essentials and its odd subjective imperatives; it is a work of episodic beauty and mercurial significance.”
Louisville Courier Journal on THE SHADOW YEAR
“Jeffrey Ford’s latest triumph, THE SHADOW YEAR, is as haunting as it is humorous…readers will recognize real talent in Ford’s vivid, unerring voice.”
New York Times on THE SHADOW YEAR
“Ford travels deep into the wild country that is childhood in this novel …the observations and adventures of these sharp, wayward children provide more than enough depth to be satisfying.”
Boston Globe on THE SHADOW YEAR
“Children are the original magic realists. The effects that novelists of a postmodern bent must strive for come naturally to the young, a truth given inventive realization in this wonderful quasi-mystery tale by Jeffrey Ford.”
Gawker on THE DROWNED LIFE
“A collection of surreal, melancholy stories dealing with everything from worlds of the drifting dead to drunken tree parties. Ford is the author of the superlative, creepy Well-Built City trilogy and his writing is both powerful and disturbing in the best possible way.”
io9 on Jeffrey Ford
“[Ford’s] writing is both powerful and disturbing in the best possible way.”
Rocky Mountain News
“Think Ray Bradbury’s Green Town stories, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s The Body (made into the film Stand by Me) and you get an idea of the tone of Ford’s latest fine work. Grade: A”
Booklist
“Surreal, unsettling, and more than a little weird. Ford has a rare gift for evoking mood with just a few well-chosen words and for creating living, breathing characters with only a few lines of dialogue.”
Rocky Mountain News
“The 16 stories in this collection are a perfect introduction to Ford’s work and illustrate the vast range of his imagination…If you haven’t discovered Ford, it’s time you did. His carefully crafted novels and short stories are all top-notch. Grade: A.”
New York Newsday
“We should be grateful that alongside the firm of Updike, Cheever, Ford & Company there exists, in both fiction and film, an American tradition that depicts the suburbs as places of wonder rather than stultification, discovery rather than predictability.”
Kirkus Reviews
The fourth collection of stories from Ford includes examples of fantasy, science fiction, neo-steampunk, noir and a few genre-busting curiosities. The longest piece in the book, "The Wish Head," is a haunted police procedural set in upstate New York in the mid-20th century. "The Double of My Double Is Not My Double" doubles down on the rich history of the doppelganger; it is funny, morbid and very clever. "Every Richie There Is" is a dry-eyed look at our inevitably mixed feelings about our neighbors. "Glass Eels" smarts like a sliver of glass under a fingernail. To all but one story, Ford adds a note. These notes pay homage to generous editors, describe flashes of inspiration, explain references and enlighten the ignorant. One note contains a bonus track, an additional story. Ford finds his way into scenarios infernal, haunted or merely strange, and keeps his wits about him on the journey.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062122599
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 958,090
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Ford is the author of three previous story collections and eight previous novels, including the Edgar® Award-winning The Girl in the Glass and the Shirley Jackson Award-winning The Shadow Year. A former professor of writing and early American literature, Ford now writes full-time in Ohio, where he lives with his wife.

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