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Teatro Grottesco
By Thomas Ligotti
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Day 28: Last book you read

Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti.

It was a collection of weird tales, and while I do like some of the weirdness of the people visited in the dead of night by giant clown marionettes, or the anti-art troup feeding their prey to a cluster of soft, black stars, my favourite thing about these stories was the narration. It wasn’t really stream of conscious, but it was verbose without giving a lot away…sort of…focusing on tone instead of detail, and I love that effect in weird tales. It is my favourite. Most of the stories went along that way, except maybe the first, which was told from the point-of-view of a child, and was a little different because of it. The others were told mostly by paranoid adult characters with very vague senses of what they were doing…and I hate to say I identify with that type of narrator, but I do.

My favourite was probably The Bungalow House, where the narrator goes to an art gallery and finds a performance artwork comprised of an audio tape where the artist describes a small, desolate house filled with dead vermin and lamps that do not work. The narrator feels like the artist describes everything in a way that’s made more sense to him and matched his own vision of the world than anything he’d ever come across, and as the story goes on, you’re led to wonder if the artist is the narrator…

It’s the kind of weirdness I like…of not knowing or recognising yourself, or of something inside you being ruined when you do finally see it. Like Hans Christian Anderson’s The Shadow, and Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. I am fascinated with that theme, and I suppose that’s what makes me seem so narcissistic…but for reasons that I only barely understand, I am deeply paranoid about my sense of self and whether there are things about me that I don’t know.

There probably are.

rts

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