The name of Edgar Allan Poe played an important role in literature, because it was this writer who created the first detective in history, giving the novel a new criminal sound. The author became an icon of his genre, and his works inspired many authors, among others: Dostojewski, Bierce or Lovecraft.
Poah’s prose is distinguished by surrealism, brutality, descriptions of cruelty that freeze blood in the veins, and a great emphasis on the psychology of characters. Feature dominant elements are horror and fantasy. The same is true of the illustrated book “Mysterious and Insane Stories”, which is a collection of four stories – “Black Cat”, “The Mask of Red Death”, “The Frog” and “The Fall of the Usher House”.
Each of these stories is fascinating, unique and enigmatic, with a drop of black humour. Poe perfectly paints the image of each story, giving them a unique sound, similar to a dark fairy tale.
“Black cat’.
The story opens the door to the land of an animal lover facing the problem of alcohol. The crew takes control of the man who starts to become aggressive and neglect his pets. When one day, under the influence of alcohol, a man commits a terrible crime – painfully mutilates and then kills his cat – his life slowly turns into ruin…
“Red death mask’.
The Red Rainbow is decimating the population – people are dying on a large scale, blood is flowing down everywhere. When Red Death rages outside, a king, together with a thousand friends, closes himself down in one of his fortified abbeyes in order to escape the epidemic. It is there that they spend their happy moments, play and forget about their worries. But will their joy last forever?
In a kingdom there lives a ruler who loves jokes. But what would a royal court be like without a jester? The frog, being not only a jester but also a crippling dwarf, becomes for the king a reason to be proud, because not only can a professional joke entertain, so his defects can become the object of mockery. How much humiliation will Żaboskoczek endure? Will he finally be able to be free?
“The Fall of the Usher House
One man, invited by a childhood friend, arrives at the title house. The gloomy landscape around the house does not make you optimistic, but the man decides to stop there. A ghostly atmosphere, unexplained events and a severe illness – will they be overcome? What will be the finale of this story?
Each of the stories presented is filled with madness and an incredibly gloomy atmosphere. Edgar Allan Poe takes the reader deep into human nature and reveals all the pages of it. The writer’s language is specific, hiding an incredible, original character, which cannot be passed by indifferently. The author builds extremely detailed and colourful descriptions, intensifying them with a dark accent.
The abundance of illustrations by Gris Grimly is a wonderful complement to the content. The caricatured, expressive reflection of the characters only highlights the madness and makes sure this book is not suitable for children, although you can get that impression. The colourful drawings, supplemented by a modern line, make a good impression, and the grotesque emanating from them additionally influences the imagination of the reader.
There is no doubt that “Mysterious and mad stories” are a peculiar book, in a way ghostly. Obsession and darkness are at the forefront here, and carefully depicted illustrations become a kind of cherry on the cake. This title definitely attracts attention and is a good proposal for a reader who would like to start an adventure with the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
Title: Mysterious and crazy stories
Author: Edgar Allan Poe, Gris Grimly
Translation: Jolanta Kozak
Publishing house: Our Bookstore
Year of issue: 2017
Number of pages: 144