The Grin of the Dark

The Grin of the Dark Tubby Thackeray was once the biggest comedian in the world people literally laughed themselves to death at some of his performances But almost nothing of his silent movies has survived and now Thacke

  • Title: The Grin of the Dark
  • Author: Ramsey Campbell
  • ISBN: 9780765319395
  • Page: 284
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Tubby Thackeray was once the biggest comedian in the world people literally laughed themselves to death at some of his performances But almost nothing of his silent movies has survived, and now Thackeray is little than a grace note in film history.Disgraced film critic Simon is determined to restore Tubby s reputation and his own A commercially successful biograpTubby Thackeray was once the biggest comedian in the world people literally laughed themselves to death at some of his performances But almost nothing of his silent movies has survived, and now Thackeray is little than a grace note in film history.Disgraced film critic Simon is determined to restore Tubby s reputation and his own A commercially successful biography of Tubby will convince Simon s girlfriend and her parents that Simon is worthy of her Uncovering the truth about Tubby isn t easy Newspapers of the time contain mysterious, truncated accounts of disturbing events at Tubby s performances and at screenings of his films The few seconds of film Simon finds of Tubby in action are profoundly disquieting Tubby seems demon than comedian Tubby s leering, laughing clown s face haunts Simon Everywhere he turns, he sees the clown s sardonic grin his faintly glowing white costume or his long, oddly jointed limbs.Tubby Thackeray is dead But the evil that was Tubby Thackeray lives, and Simon s investigations have roused its hunger.

    One thought on “The Grin of the Dark”

    1. I made it 42 pages into this book so i can't say how the story is but the writing is atrocious. I though I was reading something from a teenage author I(you know the ones publishers print as a gimmick and then eventually realized they've been plagiarizing). When I was in high school i wrote like Ramsey Campbell. Here's and example:Why am I trying to piece this together when I should be watching? I hurry into the communal lounge and switch on the video player.A tape is nesting in it. When I eject [...]

    2. One of Campbell's finest novels. His usual devices are present: an uncertainty of what is real and what is not, half-glimpsed horrors in everyday settings, an almost paranoiac sense that every encounter with another person will be unpleasant; but this novel uses those devices to conjure up a vision of Azathoth, Lovecraft's blind "idiot god", an aspect of Lovecraft's mythos which most writers avoid because its horrors are too philosophically complex for hackwork, and too abstract for comprehensio [...]

    3. Simon's career as a film critic is tanking. He gets the opportunity to write a biography about Tubby Thackeray, a comedian during the silent film era, and Simon thinks this will get him back on track. Though Tubby was once a star, little information remains about him. His films are all but lost, and even news stories about him are hard to find. As Simon delves further into the life of Tubby, he seems to slowly lose his mind.Creepy book about a clown. Not just any clown, a silent movie clown. Whi [...]

    4. Campbell is one of the long established masters of the genre although he is less well known and widely appreciated than other long established authors. Although widely respected by other writers in the field, he is never going to enjoy the popularity of others, such as King, because his characters are not as easy to relate to, his narrative style sometimes jars and his plot lines often fail to wrap up conclusively. He employs a graduated build up of unease that some readers might not have the pa [...]

    5. I just could not get into this book. I tried so hard to like it, and a few times I thought I might almost be into it, but then I'd turn the page and there in front of me was yet another page of arguments the main character has with some person on a message board. The constant back and forth of the "message board posts" made me want to beat my head against a wall. Think about logging into your favorite message board and seeing post after post (think about 300 pages of it in this case)of the same [...]

    6. Normally I find the whole slowly-losing-one's-sanity-while-unexplainable-things-start-happening plot to be really compelling and interesting in horror novels. And since I've enjoyed some of Ramsey Campbell's short stories, I thought I would really like this book. But the main character is hard to sympathize with from the very beginning (honestly, he's absolutely annoying). The book is also written in a way to make you feel like you too are slowly losing your sanity, which --- while a testament t [...]

    7. As ever, Campbell's fiction is not about in-your-face scares, but growing disquiet, the slow build rather than the instant pay off. It starts gently, creeping along, making strange suggestions to you, carefully piling oddity onto oddity until you finish. It left me feeling off-kilter, although the downside is that the nebulous shapes Campbell creates at the edge of your vision never quite take form. The first person account that is the story doesn't benefit from this, because as things progress, [...]

    8. Nauseatingly disjointed dreamy plot which made me feel increasingly insane, during a 10h plane flight in which I read it. Not that I liked the feeling, but I bow to the writers who manages all this with just an arsenal of hints, insinuations, and the swiftly degenerating personality of the protagonist. Like a Martin Amis on ketamine. I felt aftershocks for days.

    9. 'The Grin in the Dark' is less a horror tale than a novel of unease. From that perspective, the three pages of closely set third part endorsements give the wrong impression on this occasion.The tale uses the conceit (known to us from Japanese horror) of a creative medium - the cinema shorts of a disturbing lost silent comedian - that infects the minds of others.There are strong elements of the gothic, the occult and Kingian coulrophobia and the whole novel leaves us with a lingering sense of dis [...]

    10. 'The Grin of the Dark' is somewhere between a situational comedy and a novel of cosmic terror. Campbell extends the madness of his fine novella, 'Needing Ghosts', and tauntingly unwinds a narrative into moments of pure disjointed madness, all contained within a frame of vaudevillian slapstick. The book's otherworldly villain, a silent film comedian named Tubby Thackeray, skirts the edges of the novel like a plague ready to bloom, infecting the unseen world in much the same way the VHS tape in 'R [...]

    11. You'll never look at the internet again after this book.You know when you're on that forum and there's always one idiot, one argumentative sod? Well beware cause they might turn out to be worse than you think!Two days after reading and I'm still caught up in the book and its terrifying conclusion. The man is a master!

    12. I’m still having trouble deciphering why this book didn’t get a more suitable ending. Anywho, the premise is simple and to the point: there’s a disgraced writer on a mission to rub the dirt off his reputation and keep his girlfriend. Oh, and there’s this extra bit where he, Simon Lester, needs money. The problems begin when Tubby, the focus of Simon’s book, begins to take over his girlfriend’s son’s focus as well, along with his own. Events ensue, and at the end, we’re left wonde [...]

    13. I am slowly introducing myself to Ramsey Campbell in my quest for good horror fiction. I have heard so many good things about him and somehow, he just had never made it into my reading. I did manage to find a few old paperbacks and read "The Doll That Ate It's Mother" and really enjoyed it. My enterprising boyfriend and computer hound found me many, many rare Campbells for my nook and I started this one first. I did not even know what it was about, but I loved the title and cover art so I though [...]

    14. As a fan of all types of horror, the cover caught my eye in the local library. A few of the forty-word sentences had to be read twice, but I enjoyed the British descriptions immensely. I could almost feel myself "in" the experience that the author was depicting, which is no less than I expect from any good horror tale. The hallucinations experienced by the main character throughout the book are quite detailed. This author has written about 12 other books and I was left wanting to read more of hi [...]

    15. The novel revolves around a disgraced magazine writer attempting his coup de grace by writing a book about a former silent comedian. As he begins his research strange things start to happen and the reader is left wondering if the hero is losing his mind or if these events are really occurring. Enjoyable enough but not the best book I've ever read. By the time I got to the end I got the feeling that the author is not really a fan of the internet which he seems to blame for what happened to his he [...]

    16. Hated it. Was bored out of my mind, and thoroughly annoyed at the whole experience of reading it. If I had to pin it down, I would say that a complete lack of sympathetic characters is what made this book such a poor choice for me.

    17. Short Take: So much potential.Ramsey Campbell is one of those horror authors that horror fans seem to really love, but I just can’t get in to. I tried Incarnate a couple of years ago after seeing rave reviews from some other bloggers I admire, and I thought that it was OK, but not spectacular. I figured that Campbell just wasn’t for me, and moved on.Then I read a “Best Horror Novels of the Millenium” list, and there he was at #7, with The Grin of the Dark. Since I’d already read most o [...]

    18. Prepare when you read this not to feel scared. Oh it's horror. But not the cheap thrill horror of giant spider clown things. Not the boo gotcha horror of creepy serial killer clowns. No spoiler here, this book is about clowns. Do you think they are frightening? Man, you have no idea.The book starts with the proclamation: "I'm no loser." Of course you're not. You're just a reasonably smart guy with a run of bad luck. nothing too special about you. Nothing too dangerous. All you want is a regular [...]

    19. Ramsey Campbell is a name all horror readers should be familiar with. The Liverpool native has written at least thirty novels, and had hundreds of short stories to his name. I've long been a fan of Campbell's short fiction, but until now I have yet to delve into any of his longer works.The Grin of the Dark is one of his more recent novels, being published in 2007. Now, looking at the cover alone it's easy to see how I came to choose this one. Clowns have long been a source of horror. Ask anyone [...]

    20. This is the fourth Campbell novel I've read and there's a 17 year gap between this novel and the most recently published novel I'd read by him (Midnight Sun (1990)). I would put it below Ancient Images and The Hungry Moon, but well above Midnight Sun. There's definitely differences in his writing style then versus now. This novel can be very "hallucinogenic" at times, and it's a little more focused on interpersonal relationships than I prefer. At times I thought Campbell overplayed his hand with [...]

    21. Down on his luck film critic Simon Lester takes on a job from a University Press to write a book reintroducing silent film star Tubby Thackery to the world. It appears that Thackery's movies and live appearances were noted to cause hysteria in his audiences and it appears that all traces of his work have been expunged. As the immensity of the task settles upon him and the stakes of his potential failure loom large, Simon appears to be cracking under the pressure . . . or is he? Perhaps Thackery' [...]

    22. I've had mixed experiences with Campbell. His short stories have occasionally been brilliant, but more often obscure or underwhelming. Nonetheless, the best of his work has been sufficiently intriguing for me to seek out the bulk of his work in the hope of finding something similar. This was my first novel of his and I'm happy to say that it's excellent, a masterful slow-burning work that ranks alongside the best in the genre. Like a lot of his short stories, there's a certain off-ness to the pr [...]

    23. All right, so it's a horror novel with a clown on the cover. The basic description might not give you extravagant hopes for its originality. But Campbell has ways of making the genre his own, not least his first-person narrative style, which attracts you and then disorients the hell out of you with more and more frequent temporal lapses, split-second hauntings and verbal breakdown. Furthermore, Tubby Thackeray is not just any clown but a silent-movie jokester, and the distanced, deadpan descript [...]

    24. I loved the detective feel of this book, especially considering the subject was film. It sucked me right in. Campbell's writing is so descriptive and clever that I managed not to be bothered by the fact he wrote this in present tense, which is usually really irritating for me. For a good length of the book I was wondering where the horror was really going to show itself, but I began to realize that it had been whittling away at me right from the beginning. Campbell has a way of taking seemingly [...]

    25. The plot seemed promising, but it wound up being a combination of "The Ring" and Stephen King's "It." The prose is ridiculously dense at times, and the chapters where the narrator is hallucinating (pretty much the entire second half of the book) gave me a headache in my eye, they were so muddled. I wanted to like this one, but it just didn't work for me.

    26. A bit long and sometimes I lost track of what the author was saying. Not bad, but nowhere near as good as 'The Long Lost'. If you like to be freaked out by fat, grinning faces and clowns, then give it a go.

    27. So I messaged the author and asked which of his books he would consider himself most proud of having written and this was what he suggested.I don't want to spoil anythingbut if you like a strong sense of paranoia and the world unraveling around youwell then there's something wrong with you. But you will enjoy this book.The tension is amazing. The narrator is questionable, especially towards the end. The flow gets increasingly disorienting (which, for once is a good thing) and the horrors are del [...]

    28. Many books have protagonists who become disturbed or unreliable as the story progresses. However the Grin of the Dark is a novel which may also make the reader themselves feel increasingly uneasy and disoriented. Ramsey Campbell's writing here is not without it's flaws, he has a tendency to overuse certain of his devices and it often may be too ambiguous for some readers. But for me the strengths far outweighed any problems.

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