City of Saints and Madmen Hardcover – 2 Apr 2004
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A masterful novel. Complex and textured, decadent and decaying. A beautiful work of art, both as physical object and text. -- Locus Online, 2002
Beautifully written, virtually hallucinatory work. Connoisseurs of the finest in postmodern fantasy will find it enormously rewarding. -- Publishers Weekly, 2002
It is a rare treasure, to be tasted with both relish and respect. It's what you've been looking for. -- Michael Moorcock, intro to the book
[a] truly wonderful creation...startlingly nasty and/or beautiful revelations. -- Gahan Wilson, Realms of Fantasy, 2003
Jeff VanderMeer has been acclaimed by authors such as Lauren Beukes, Richard Morgan, Michael Moorcock and more. By turns sensuous and terrifying, this collection of four linked novellas is the perfect introduction to VanderMeer’s vividly imagined worlds. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
You'll find no farmboys possesing magic talents here, no buff warriors or mighty sorcerors... instead the beautiful yet darkly secretive Ambergris is populated by out-of-work missionaries, struggling artists, unhinged marinebiologists (and at least one slightly unhinged author) and other still more curious individuals. Each is led into the darkest corners of both the city and the human consciousness, and every tale is woven through with the silent question that no Ambergrisian can answer - the darkest of all the city's secrets.
Not only does VanderMeer present his readers with finely crafted, delicately sculpted prose on every turning page but as the readers are propelled into appendices and glossaries, footnotes, bibliographies they are continuously rewarded with the most imaginative and most fully-realised fiction being written today.
It may also be the most beautifully presented artifact of fiction you could hope to possess - painstakingly designed from cover to cover, filled with illustrations and diagrams, each designed to draw the reader further down the rabbit hole.
By turns darkly horrific, emotionally charged and hilariously comic, City of Saints and Madmen is a wonderfully clever, crazed and adventurous collection of experiences you cannot miss out on.
This huge book (700’ish pages) consists of four novellas/short stories and a mish-mash of shorter stories plonked into an appendix, all set in the teeming anarchic city of Ambergris. The first story, ‘Dradin in Love’, tells the tale of a priest’s return to the city after a period of missionary work in the jungle and serves as an excellent introduction to the metropolis and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire cityscape is superbly detailed and consistently well-imagined while the narrative has pace and mystery (and mushrooms). Things go rapidly downhill, however, in the second offering. This historical guide to the city does succeed in providing a rich context to the city but the profuse and verbose footnotes significantly impeded narrative flow to the point that I stopped reading them. The allegedly award winning ‘The Transformation of Martin Lake’ follows. This is the story of the rise to fame of a struggling artist following an invitation to a bizarre beheading and is a hard read with a most unsatisfying conclusion. This is followed by ‘The Strange Case of Mr. X’ in which the author effectively regales the unfortunate reader with an interview with himself under the guise of a psychiatrist interviewing a patient in an asylum; dull introspection which I skip-read until the closing, not entirely unexpected, twist. Then I hit the appendices which make up over half of the volume, by which time I was thoroughly bored by the whole thing and finally gave up when I hit a whole section printed in an unreadably blobby manual typewriter style typeface.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Original, intelligent and ridiculously creative. Some of the best contemporary fantasy out there.Published 12 months ago by Andy Hennell
A stunning opening with some of the finest (and funniest ) literature I've read . Followed by pretentious over imagined nonsense .Published 21 months ago by lee simmons
This is a grand tour of the warped mind of a deranged madman who has been locked for too long in a dark basement with only a stick, a freshly plastered wall and a vial of squid... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Jamie Dainton
I'm a very difficult man to impress, but City of Saints and Madmen impressed me A LOT. It isn't so much a collection of short stories to be read, as an interconnected web of... Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2013 by Jonathon Smith
By turns this book has delighted and annoyed me, which has compelled me to write this to try to understand why I have had this response. Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2010 by Mike
Enjoyed this immensely. It's wonderful to see an author experiment with new forms and ideas. Fantasy is an area of fiction that should be able to go anywhere, but hardly ever does. Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2007 by David Martin
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