Crackpot Palace: Stories

Crackpot Palace: Stories

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by Jeffrey Ford
     
 

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“Jeffrey Ford is one of the few writers who uses wonder instead of ink in his pen….A rare and wonderful talent.”
—Jonathan Carroll, author of The Wooden Sea

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.

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Overview

“Jeffrey Ford is one of the few writers who uses wonder instead of ink in his pen….A rare and wonderful talent.”
—Jonathan Carroll, author of The Wooden Sea

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. Crackpot Palace is Ford’s fourth superb collection of short fiction, and in it, his prodigious talent shines as brightly as ever. Here are twenty tales both strange and wonderful, filled with mad scientists, vampires, lost souls, and Native American secrets, from an author who has been glowingly compared to Kafka, Dante, and Caleb Carr (The Alienist).

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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.”
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:
08/14/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
338
Sales rank:
921,920
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

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.”
Terri Windling
“The trilogy [The Physiognomy, Memoranda, and The Beyond] is simply brilliant and constitutes a modern masterwork of fantasy.”

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