Awesome discovery of the evening? Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow is available for free on Kindle. Definitely one of the greatest horror books of all time.

One of my favorite stories in the collection is “The Prophet’s Paradise”. An excerpt:

The Throng

There, where the throng was thickest in the street, I stood with Pierrot. All eyes were turned on me.

“What are they laughing at?” I asked, but he grinned, dusting the chalk from my black cloak. “I cannot see; it must be something droll, perhaps an honest thief!”

All eyes were turned on me.

“He has robbed you of your purse!” they laughed.

“My purse!” I cried; “Pierrot–help! it is a thief!”

They laughed: “He has robbed you of your purse!”

Then Truth stepped out, holding a mirror. “If he is an honest thief,” cried Truth, “Pierrot shall find him with this mirror!” but he only grinned, dusting the chalk from my black cloak.

“You see,” he said, “Truth is an honest thief, she brings you back your mirror.”

All eyes were turned on me.

“Arrest Truth!” I cried, forgetting it was not a mirror but a purse I lost, standing with Pierrot, there, where the throng was thickest in the street.

I absolutely love how Chambers manages to blend the real and the fantastic so effortlessly. He can read like Nietzsche or Kafka one moment, and like Edgar Allan Poe or Charlotte Brontë the next. “The Prophet’s Paradise” is one of the more surreal (as well as one of the more poetic) stories in the book. One of the things I like about it is that it kind of mimics the structure of the book as a whole. It’s made up of little pieces that, at first glance, seem entirely unrelated. But the more one thinks about them, the more little connections there are to find.

Brilliant stuff.


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