An epic tale of horror and fantasy that illustrates the scope and wonder of humankind's ability to dream.
and from all this one could perhaps learn old secrets of Kadath, or gain hints of the marvellous sunset city which the gods held secret. And more, one might in certain cases seize some well-loved child of a god as hostage; or even capture some young god himself, disguised and dwelling amongst men with a comely peasant maiden as his bride.
Atal, however, did not know how to find Ngranek on its isle of Oriab; and recommended that Carter follow the singing Skai under its bridges down to the Southern Sea; where no burgess of Ulthar has ever been, but whence the merchants come in boats or with long caravans of mules and two-wheeled carts. There is a great city there, Dylath-Leen, but in Ulthar its reputation is bad because of the black three-banked galleys that sail to it with rubies from no clearly named shore. The traders that come from those galleys to deal with the jewellers are human, or nearly so, but the rowers are never beheld; and it is not thought wholesome in Ulthar that merchants should trade wi
Unlike most of Lovecraft's stories, this is less horror than it is an adventure of dark fantasy. You might call it a nightmare, but it really does have a plot--a quest--and a certain internal consistency that holds it all together. My only real complaint is that it is all too short--you're left wanting to go back and explore more of this dark dreamscape.
This is well worth reading for its – comparatively feeing – stand out pieces of imagery. Warning: There is a lot of imagery to sift through!
Reading the previous reviews it seems to me that old “Houses of Parliament” Lovecraft is done a bit of a disservice by his passionate fans. They’ve elevated his works to the point where they are treated with far too much bone dry hyperbole and academic seriousness dressed up in floaty words.
You could attach phrases like "cosmic horror" to this book and claims that it deals with, “The idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind.” (Wikipedia.)
However, an impartial reader would be best approaching the first page with a large pile of salt poised near by to hand. The availability of pinches of salt, when required, will certainly help the armies of domestic cats featured in the novella and its phrases like "the temple of loveliness" go down a bit easier. Readers will also need tolerance for a somewhat repetitive (certainly in its ornate descriptions of architecture) imagery bombardment.
As Lovecraft noted himself remarked upon the novella:
"It isn't much good…Randolph Carter's adventures may have reached the point of palling on the reader; or that the very plethora of weird imagery may have destroyed the power of any one image to produce the desired impression of strangeness."
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath was published posthumously and many scholars believe if Lovecraft had lived long enough, he would have rewritten the story. Nonetheless, even in its raw form, the novella is a powerful entry into the dark fantasy genre and I find myself rereading it often just for the sheer joy of the wonderful mental imagery the story evokes.
There are a number of references to the Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraft borrows generously from his other works.
A master of description, the reader will remember the cities of Sarkomand, Dylath-Leen, Ulthar, as well as the Plateau of Leng, the Vale of Pnath, and the city of the the gugs long after the book is done. You also get to meet Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, the emissary of the Other Gods in his 1,001th form (and the only one in which he appears human).
All in all, a very satisfying read.
This is in my humble opinion One of the greatest of all horror novels. Simply an exlosion of imagination and richly textured
layers of imagery and thought provoking underlying implied psychology, this is the work of a master of the highest order. Lovecraft, both yesterday and today will continue to influence great authors of all genres of literature. This is one of his best works; truely fantastic.
A beatiful fantasy, by the master of horror and fantasy.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft does in this short story what he does best, paints a picture of another kind of existence, a cosmic horror beyond the understanding of mere humans.
It's a horrid but yet so compelling dream, a true masterpiece in literature, but so underrated. Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath continues the dream-world of Lovecraft that began with The Tomb. How can anyone read about the plateau of Leng and survive? It is a terrible dream, and as such it is one of the best works of horror to grace this earth.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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