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The king in yellow [Unknown Binding]

Robert W Chambers
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (1916)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00085LB1O
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing 16 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback
After hearing so much about this book, I finally tracked down a copy. Sadly, it is not what I expected. Out of ten stories, only five have links to 'The King In Yellow' and only one story is, I think, essential reading. Some of it is almost unreadable. Shall I break it down?

1. 'The Repairer of Reputations' - My rating (5/5) - The book starts off fantastically strong with this story, which mixes horror, madness, intrigue and sci-fi. Chambers sets his story 25 years in the future (for him, 1920). He gives a fascinating quick history of world events, of the appearance and suppression of the horrifying book known as 'The King In Yellow' and the story then begins on the day that the first Government Lethal Chamber is being unveiled in New York (Suicide has just been declared legal). Society is rather more utopian, world conflicts have been resolved and it is against this backdrop that we start to see the creeping evil that the book can bring. This is an amazing story, and everyone who's a Lovecraft, or horror fan, should check it out. It's also snappily written, and full of quirky detail.

2. 'The Mask' - My rating (4/5) - An interesting story which, again, involves the book, and also a strange scientific discovery.

3. 'The Court Of The Dragon' (3/5) - This story of a man stalked by a mysterious figure is good, but not as innovative as the first two tales.

4. 'The Yellow Sign' (3/5) - One of the most famous stories in the book. 'The King In Yellow' features prominently here. This is a good story, and my rating is more about personal taste - I like Lovecraft for his science-based horror, and dislike Poe for his more traditional graveyard-Gothic style. This is more Poe than Lovecraft.

5.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A macabre classic 18 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Robert W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow" is a book within a book. Or, more properly, it's a collection of macabre short stories with a common theme; a fictional two-act play that brings decadence, hallucinations, and madness to any reader. The stories within this collection, published in 1895, are set in a fictional militaristic 1920s in both the USA and Europe. The tales stand free of each other, and are told from a number of different perspectives, by socialites, soldiers, and artists. Each tells how the lives of the narrator and colleagues have been affected by reading "The King in Yellow", a controversial play that has been denounced by the church and suppressed by governments. After coming into contact with it, their lives are tragically affected. Some find themselves hounded by shadowy agents, while others become confused and delusional. Others are driven to act out the play's sad and decadent events, while some simply go insane.
The substance of the play itself is only alluded to, or hinted at in brief extracts. It is clearly a tragedy, but the motivations and actions of its central characters, including the mysterious King in Yellow himself, are not clear. Like many authors of macabre tales, Chambers was content for our imaginations to do the work, and this book is more powerful for it.
(And by the way, if the central theme of a forbidden book that induces insanity is familiar to you, you've probably read some of the Mythos tales of H.P.Lovecraft. In fact, I doubt that too many people come to read "The King in Yellow" by any other route; Chambers' book is clearly stated as a strong influence on Lovecraft's work.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece and mediocrity 10 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
The Repairer of Reputations- an essential masterpiece, one that must be read by anyone who loves the weird, horror and the bizarre. A work of imagination, unlike any other. Buy the book for this five star story alone. This tale has enough ideas for a whole novel.
The next three stories- The Mask, The Court of the Dragon and The Yellow Sign- all worth the effort, all feature in some way The King in Yellow. (Four stars)
Demoielle D'Ys- a unoriginal but not unpleasant little ghost story (Three stars)
The Prophets Paradise- meaningless rubbish or work of genius? I go for the former (One star)
Street of the Four Winds- a sinister tale about a cat (Three stars).
Street of the First Shell- kind of sums up the collection- passages of fine writing mixed with tedium (more of the latter). Three stars.
Street of Our Lady of the Fields and Rue Barrie- unreadable sentimental tosh. One star each (And I'm being generous).
This book is definitely worth buying, particularly at this price, but don't feel you have to read all the stories, especially the last two.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the pennies just for the taste of it! 17 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One hopes that you will be buying this little collection of stories so that you can take a snifter and get a taste of Robert W Chambers work, as in its own right its not especially a very good collection of work. From here though, you can see what kind of work Lovecraft built upon and improved immensely. The stories are pretty poor stuff on their own and not exactly that weird. But for the price this is a good insight into a foundation if not the building.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Old-World Horror
As a fan of HP Lovecraft I was both thrilled and disappointed with this book. Thrilled to find so many intense and interesting horror stories in one book. Read more
Published 1 day ago by P BURDON
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best i/m afraid
I gave up on this, half way through..not a patch on M R James
Published 1 month ago by Cumbrianblue11
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I don't know how this book apart from the the title and occasional phrase got quoted as inspiration for the recent True Detective TV show. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. R. Fabiani
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you seen the Yellow Sign?
A interesting collection by a writer largely forgotten because of his laziness. Chambers could write well as stories like The Repairer of Reputations shows, but he could sell the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by T. G. Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not what you think
I agree with a lot of the lower starred reviews here.

The first stories that actually talk about the King in Yellow are fantastic. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Deep
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
I bought this book few days ago for my brother I can only say that the book is good and it's just like a new one. The delivery was on time as well.
Published 4 months ago by Tsvetelina Ivanova
5.0 out of 5 stars brill
Scary stories by underrated master of gothic, very hp lovecraft but with an edgy menace befitting it's role in true detective, worth a read
Published 5 months ago by Jim..
5.0 out of 5 stars Great find!
So glad this book has been rediscovered. Robert Chambers's 19th Century tales are influential in the genre of horror fiction. As good as Edgar Allen Poe, I think. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jak
5.0 out of 5 stars weird horror
I saw it was mentioned in True Detective. Robert Chamber's horror collection is truly strange and a great read for supernatural weirdness fans, and people who want insight into the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lacancan
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary!
After reading the introduction I'm almost too scared to actually read the book!
But I will, and I suspect this may become my most favourite book.
;o)
Published 6 months ago by S. Beckett
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