Book Received: Noctuary

On May 25, 2012, in Books Received, by Patrick Hester

Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti

Publisher: Subterranean; Deluxe Hardcover Edition edition (June 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596064706

Noctuary is the third volume of Thomas Ligotti’s horror stories to appear in a revised, definitive edition from Subterranean Press. The first two collections in this series, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (2010; 1986; expanded edition, 1989) and Grimscribe: His Lives and Works (2011; originally published 1991), are now collector’s items. Like its predecessors, Noctuary received numerous plaudits from reviewers upon its initial appearance. According to Library Journal, Noctuary is ‘another colorful collection of horror stories…which spring on the unsuspecting reader the combination of supernatural characters, natural props, and ‘weird’ circumstanced. As Booklist observed, ‘The most disturbing terror comes from within, springs unexpectedly from bland or half-formed memories of the past. This is the terror that Ligotti cultivates in the rich evocative tales of Noctuary… For those willing to immerse themselves in Ligotti’s world, the rewards are great.’

When an interviewer asked Ligotti the derivation of the word ‘noctuary,’ he replied that it was the nocturnal counterpart of ‘diary,’ that is, a journal of what occurs on a nightly timetable rather than during the light of day. Echoing the tenebrous tone of the book s name are the section titles into which Noctuary is divided Studies in Shadow, Discourse on Blackness, Notebook of the Night. Shadow, Blackness, Night: these are substance and signification of the themes of Ligotti’s works and the signature of gloom in which they are signed.

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