Book Review – Ascending Peculiarity by Edward Gorey

“My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that’s what the world is like.” – Edward Gorey

If you’ve read any number of his morbid stories, you’ve probably familiar already with Edward Gorey’s many obsessions – ballet, fur coats, the Victorian era, silent films, androgyny and of course, literature.

Ascending Peculiarity won’t tell you anything new or surprising, but it is interesting to hear the thoughts of such a reclusive artist. Always too modest about his work, these are various interviews on how some of his books came into being – inspirations and base ideas behind them. Some are on other topics, and I did enjoy the one about the ridiculous amount of ballets Gorey had been to – so many that he might as well have been a member of the ballet crew himself – and his observations on them.

It’s not incredibly difficult to find anything from the Gorey library today, but in the past it has been, especially early ones when they were more of a niche interest. They do include many illustrations from these macabre not-exactly-children’s-picture-books, which is pretty cool. A collector or fan would be the ideal for this book. I think anyone would basically enjoy it, but in my opinion a straight autobiography and not just interviews would have been more interesting.

3.5/5 Stars

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