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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite but perhaps HPL's best
"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" is perhaps Lovecraft's greatest piece of fiction; it certainly is a culmination of the Dunsanian fantasy pieces he wrote early in his career, several of which are also featured in this collection. While I recognize the seminal importance of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," I must also say that I find it a particularly difficult...
Published on 29 Nov 2002 by Daniel Jolley

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Such stuff as dreams are made on
To sustain a fantasy tale solely on the strength of the imagery, without the support of strong character development or a narrative that is richly symbolic or allegorical, is extraordinarily difficult. To achieve it, the imagery must be sufficiently novel and compelling to hold the reader's interest by itself. In "Dreamquest", Lovecraft makes the task even more...
Published on 28 Jun 2005 by Peter Reeve


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite but perhaps HPL's best, 29 Nov 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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"The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" is perhaps Lovecraft's greatest piece of fiction; it certainly is a culmination of the Dunsanian fantasy pieces he wrote early in his career, several of which are also featured in this collection. While I recognize the seminal importance of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," I must also say that I find it a particularly difficult read; if my powers of concentration are less than 100%, I simply can't make heads or tails of the story. Perhaps my trouble is a personal idiosyncrasy, but this novella is certainly complex and not well suited for the casual reader. The story describes Randolph Carter's obsessive search for the abode of earth's gods on mystical Kadath and his determination to find and abide in a glorious city he has seen in his dreams. Carter is a proficient dreamer, and his journey introduces us to important denizens and personalities in the dream world. Unafraid, Carter sets himself to brave a meeting even with Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos. There are monstrous creatures and horrible vistas brought to life in these pages, but the entire dreamlike atmosphere of the story seems to rise up and cover my mind with mists that force me to reread passages in order to maintain my focus. While I don't necessarily enjoy this story in the normal sense of the word, I do regard it as a grand achievement by the author.
The other stories in the collection also take us to the dream world created by Lovecraft. "The Silver Key" and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (written in collaboration with E. Hoffman Price) reveal much of the history of Randolph Carter and offer glimpses of other dream quests he embarked on in life. "Celephais" tells of the dream world town ruled by King Kuranes, a former earthly acquaintance of Randolph Carter, and "The Strange High House in the Mist" contains references to the dream world Carter explored. Only "The White Ship" does not relate in some way to Carter's travels.
One simply should not read "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" without first reading a number of other related stories, several of which are unfortunately not contained in this volume (such as "The Other Gods," "The Cats of Ulthar," "Pickman's Model," and most especially "The Statement of Randolph Carter"). This book requires work on the part of the reader due to its unique complexity. Lovecraft's horror stories are much more appealing to me than the fantasy stories collected here, yet Lovecraft's true genius and talent are most easily discerned by a reading of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff dreams are made of..., 25 Jun 1997
By A Customer
A man glimpses a marvelous city in his childhood dreams, and as an adult seeks to find it. I read this story for the first time during summer vacation when I was 14 or 15 (a very impressionable age) and was deeply struck by the huge vistas this work opened up within my imagination. By no means do I consider this great literature, in fact Lovecraft himself never intended for it to see print, but scattered throughout it are many gems--achingly beautiful passages that still to this day possess the power to transport me back to that wonderful, careless age when I had first read it. I return to this book every now and then when the world gets a bit overwhelming and have always come away with a renewed sense of child-like wonder. As Lovecraft himself once wrote, "Calm, lasting beauty comes only in a dream, and this solace the world had thrown away when in its worship of the real it threw away the secrets of childhood and innocence."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suberb tale of sublime fantasy in a wondrous dreamscape..., 24 Jan 1999
By A Customer
If you enjoy tales of fantasy, qv the Hobbit series by JRR Tolkein or the Elric tales by Michael Moorcock, you must read this scarcely read tale of fantasy by american author H.P. Lovecraft. Understand from the first that this story is more sublime beauty than horror. The horrific cover on the del rey book, though compelling, mis-sells the story. This is a fantasy tale about a dreamer/adventurer who quests through an incredible dreamscape world on a quest to rediscover a fleeting dream city. The main character, Randolph Carter, is a hero of sorts in the Lovecraft universe and his adventures through the dreamlands are some of the most spectacular ever written in any tale of fantasy adventure. Encounters with fantastic creatures of dream and nightmare, compelling characters from ethereal kings and strange gods, to moon flying cats await you. Moreover, you will experience a new sensitivity to the power of beauty, dreams and forgotten childhood memories in a way only the master of the sublime can share. You will experience the imaginitive genius of Lovecraft fully in this often bizarre tale. Lovecraft's command of the English language make virtually every sentence a delight. "Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath" is a spectacularly unusual fantasy tale: the only thing that will haunt you is the power of the breathtaking beauty Lovecraft will paint for you in his commanding eloquence. It is perfectly paced, with no dragging areas, and somewhat of a quick read. A shame because you will wish as you near the end that the book was infinitely thicker. Do not miss this delight of fantasy storytelling! -Javier Roman
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4.0 out of 5 stars The other side of Lovecraft, 24 Feb 2007
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A Del-Rey-published collection of short stories and novellas of various lengths, revolving around Lovecraft's dream world and with a particular focus on the tales of Randolph Carter. The novella which gives the collection its title is the longest of the pieces, and presents such a weird ramble of imagery that Lovecraft later concluded that it undermined the alien-ness of any single image. Nevertheless it's fascinating and atmospheric, and shows off the author's considerable skill with endings. The rest of the stories explore this world, partly a shared lucid dream, partly the underlying fabric of reality, returning time and again to the fate of Carter. Our last glimpse of him is either darkly appropriate or irritatingly inconclusive, but after that the collection falls flat with some appealing but lightweight sketches which have only a peripheral link to the overall theme. The Silver Key and Through the Gates of the Silver Key provide some unexpectedly insightful takes on the philosophy and nature of science, the latter pre-empting some of Hawking's metaphors in A Brief History of Time by decades, which raised a smile.

While the choice of stories is a bit iffy, the history of Carter's search and his fatal hubris makes for compelling reading, while for Lovecraft obsessives it presents a welcoming fantasy aspect of the traditionally horrific mythos.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a difference a couple of decades make, 17 May 1999
By A Customer
It was a lot tougher being a Lovecraft fan in the 1970s. Hardly any of his work was in print. I owned no Lovecraft books except for an extremely worn copy of The Colour out of Space. I read what I could in libraries, but his work had fallen so far off the horizon that it was hard just finding a bibliography. At some point in the late 1970s I heard of "Dream Quest" and discovered that it was so rare as to be virtually nonexistent. I finally managed to read a copy in 1981 or 1982 in the stacks of the Duke University library (it was a reserve book, of course). My anecdote aside, this is an very good tale that shouldn't have been so hard to find, and now that virtually all Lovecraft is back in print, you should buy (and hoard) a copy for yourself if you have any interest in Lovecraft in longer form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this Book, 18 Mar 1997
By A Customer
One day I went to the library and I was looking through the used books that they sell in the hallway. I came across this one book that caught my eye and decided to buy it. I brought the book home and began reading it. It was and excellent book. A thriller, horror, fantacy, whatever you want to call it. But it kept me inside. I was inside the book, feeling and seeing all these incredible things going on around me. The pages flipped but they were not pages to me. It was as if I had entered into this whole new world. It was a reality that embraced me. I couldn't leave till it was over. It just kept me on my toes, wondering, "what will happen next?" This book is a defanite "must-read" book. I suggest that all individuals read it. You can benefit so much, and learn things that you could never imagine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft's most Dunsanian tale, 31 Dec 1996
By A Customer
Strange realms operating under Randall Carter's dream logic.
The sound of yak bells across the distance of the cold
waste, beyond which lies Kadath, lingers with me still.
Nyarlathotep warned of the dangers of the gods, whose
concerns are not the same as ours, and who lust after the
city of light out of Carter's youth. But Carter's journeys,
his encounter with Night Gaunts (of whom it is best not to
think too much), and his amazing rescue by the cats of
Ulthar make this my favorite by Lovecraft. Be warned,
however, that this is fantasy and not horror.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great go-to-bed reading: if you are going to stay out of bed, 2 Oct 1996
By A Customer
Even if have never heard of Kadath, which is not surprising
since few have ever heard of it, even if you have never heard of
dream-questing, which is even less surprising since quest zest
has nearly ceased to zero, you will not be able to turn
away from the dark story of searching for the mysterious
city of Kadath far away: or may be in another world? The
style of the book is deadly cold and calm, even when telling
the most terrifying details of the hero's quest to the thin
border of his dreams... and beyond.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft's most accessible tale, told in his unique style, 27 Mar 1997
By A Customer
The plot moves quickly. A series of scenes, word-paintings, are connected by the dreamer's journey. This arcane Odessey is much more accessible to the first-time reader than Lovecraft's many darker stories that lumber forward under his ornate ellipsis and oblique references. I recommend this novella for its wonderful images, its powerful sentiment and the absence of an overt agenda. The wonderful story-telling leaves the reader free to exercise the imagination to its fullest extent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An evocation of nostalgia: pure wizardry: pure beauty., 3 Sep 1998
By A Customer
One of the most beautiful books written, Lovecraft's story of the pursuit into the world of dreams, searching for the unknown city. Inspired by Lord Dunsunay and Windsor McKay's Little Nemo, but pure Lovecraft, and unequaled. The city of cats, the vast fantasy worlds; and an ending of aching beauty. I read it my second summer of college; and could not tell if I was dreaming. Read it!
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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (Lovecraft)
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