Soon to be a major motion picture from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Toni Collette.
Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a carnival-show geek--alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd's gleeful disgust and derision--going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There's no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.
And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he's going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute assistant (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan's for the taking. At least for now.
Author: William Lindsay Gresham
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Binding Type: Paperback
Size: 7.90h x 5.56w x 0.67d
About the Author
William Lindsay Gresham (1909-1962) was a novelist and nonfiction writer. Gresham's was a tortured mind and a tormented life, and he sought to banish his demons through a maze of dead-end ways, from Marxism to psychoanalysis to Christianity to Alcoholics Anonymous to Rinzai Zen Buddhism. From these demons came his novel Nightmare Alley (1946), one of the underground classics of American literature. He wrote one more novel, Limbo Tower (1949), which went largely unnoticed. Three nonfiction books followed: Monster Midway (1953), Houdini (1959), and The Book of Strength (1961). Nightmare Alley brought Gresham fame and fortune, but he lost it all. The second of his three wives, the poet Joy Davidman, left him in 1953 for the British author C. S. Lewis. He killed himself in New York City on September 14, 1962.
Nick Tosches (1949-2019) was an acclaimed author of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Among his books are the biographies Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story and Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams; the novels In the Hand of Dante and Under Tiberius; and the poetry collection Chaldea and I Dig Girls. He died in New York City in 2019.