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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 18 November 2010
Full of weirdness. Demonstrates Crowley's wonderful mastery of English, his deep knowledge, and his extraordinary humour and inventiveness. If you are able to step back in time to the period in which he wrote these items and thereby to take into account the social framework and ambience in which he essayed these creative outpourings, then the humour will draw laughs-out-loud. Some of the plots are thin, but raised up by the sheer style of delivery. Theodore Bugg with his social pretensions is one perfect example of all of the factors I have mentioned so far with the exception of 'deep knowledge'. For this there are other more challenging inputs, and serious truths are presented in a way that is at times difficult to negotiate. Such stories are not suitable to read on a train journey, but many others are. So you have a wide selection of which to avail yourself according to your mood and circumstance.
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on 22 February 2011
Even if you are not a Crowley fan or acolyte this is an outstanding collection of short stories whose imaginative breadth is staggering. Crowley was always a lucid and entertaining prose writer and here he shows off another colour of his rainbow. What is not includled in this pot of gold are the 'Simon Iff' tales. However this does not detract from the range of stories presented, some published here for the first time. There is an excellent,informative and if slightly slavish introduction the editor has obviously worked here on a labour of love and the care shows. Its a jolly fun mixture: Pathos, bathos, all the spices of a literary 'Glacier Curry': Saki meets Dunsany meets Conan Doyle meets Poe. As experimental as Joyce, with more readability. Yes it has the unbeatable quality of a good read. It will make you smile, frown and think. And the Wordsworth publication value is obvious, the book is practically a steal.
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on 28 March 2011
This is an excellent collection of Crowley's short stories. His mastery of English is awesome, as are his wit and humour. If you enjoy the stories of E.A. Poe or E. T. A. Hoffmann, then you will enjoy most of the stories here. Most of the stories involve Crowley's beliefs in some way or other, but even if you are not a Thelemite, they are good and enjoyable, you just won't appreciate the deeper meaning hidden within. As Crowley does not blatantly force his philosophy upon the reader, this book can indeed be enjoyed by non-Thelemites. If, however, you happen to be a Thelemite, then this is a must buy: his explanations on matters Occult are simply brilliant and are a welcome addition to his technical writings which many of these stories elucidate. Mind-blowing too, his prose depictions of the Qabalah, his past incarnations, etc.
Crowley was predominantley an Occultist, not a story-teller, and this shows. Nonetheless, his skill is of a high standard, and given the price of the book, this is well worth it.
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on 18 May 2011
Those who are new to the writings of Aleister Crowley may be pleasantly surprised by this wonderful collection of forty-two short stories, some of which have never been published before. Most of Crowley's fiction was written between 1908 and 1922 and appeared in such periodicals as 'The Equinox', 'The English Review' and 'The International', to name a few.
Throughout many of the stories we are aware of the astonishing intellect behind them and we are never far away from the man's celebrated wit and dark humour; there are also elements of intense foreboding and unease. In fact, in my opinion, Crowley is a very accomplished writer and given time to mature, his name could have sat alongside the greats of the novel and the short story, if his way had not been obscured by notoriety. But a deeper understanding and appreciation of the man is possible through his fiction, and such stories as: 'At the fork of the roads', 'The violinist', 'The vixen', 'The ordeal of Ida Pendragon', 'The stratagem', 'A death-bed repentance' and 'The argument that took the wrong turning' have auto-biographical details woven into the fabric of his fiction.
Those more familiar with Crowley's works will recognise the philosophical, magical and religious references that appear, but these stories can simply be enjoyed by all who love the art of story-telling.
There are still many works by Crowley yet to be published but perhaps with this renewed interest in the man this will be rectified in the future! With an extensive section on notes at the end of the book, this collection is a long-awaited delight!
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on 25 November 2012
I enjoy Crowley novels, although there are not that many. They do come from a bygone era but I am fond of the style from this time. To get a lot of the reference I imagine one would have to have studied his Magikal texts. I found most of the short stories to interesting without the former knowledge.
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on 29 May 2015
Some nice stories but it took me months to finish, because frankly, whilst some stories (including "The Drug") were good a lot of them bored me out of my skull and i got half way through some of them and just skipped them because they were going nowhere, i can see what Israel Regardie meant when he said they were a bore. A shame because "Diary of a drug fiend" is excellent, but by half way through this book i was really tired and wanted to just get the thing finished and out the way. I marked out the stories i enjoyed and will probably go back to them but there's not a chance i will re read the entire book, it's just really not that good in my view, the mans magical writings and poetry is much more interesting and i believe relevant. Nice moments, not great as a whole
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on 28 October 2010
93!

I have more or less just recieved the book but I must say that so far its been really quite amusing! Crowley was a grand shortstory writer that is for sure!
I would recommend any Crowley fan to buy this little gem, it is almost free anyway so why Not buy it? :P

93 93/93
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on 7 November 2013
Introduction by William Breeze and a Foreword by David Tibet.
Uncollected short fiction of the poet, writer and religious philosopher.
The Drug stands as one of the first accounts of a psychedelic experience.
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on 30 October 2014
Crowley's good for a chuckle, but don't take him too seriously. Worth a look, but maybe a bit dated now.
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on 30 November 2015
I love this horrible man...
I find him fascinating beyond words.
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