Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey
Read by Adam Sims
November 2018/ ASIN: B07KPJQ1H6
Nonfiction Genre / Biography / Audiobook - Unabridged /14
hours and 48 minutes
by Leslie C. Halpern
exhaustively researched biography of artist, author, and designer
Edward Gorey reveals the colorful personal life, adopted persona,
and frenetic professional world of the late Grandfather of Goth.
With an oddly British Victorian (though he was American) sensibility,
Gorey wrote and illustrated more than 100 little books with
ghoulish themes and artwork often of a sexual nature and depicting
violence toward children. Although some critics despised his
books and some stores refused to sell them, a devoted subculture
adored his irreverent and absurdist works.
The author delves into previously published interviews, excerpts
from Gorey books, letters, and notes, and includes new material
generated for this publication. Family problems, including a
relative in and out of mental hospitals, an absentee father,
and an over-protective mother may have contributed to his eccentric
behavior. This behavior includes collecting photographs of dead
children and saving grotesque artifacts such as a mummified
head that he kept in his closet. The painstaking research covers
Gorey’s clothing style, eating habits, personal relationships,
and hoarding tendencies, in addition to details of the books
he wrote, illustrated, and designed, and in his later life,
the stage plays for which he designed costumes and sets.
Frequent repetition, including speculations about Gorey’s
homosexuality, and comments about his fur coats and affected
way of speaking, could have been limited to merely one or two
references. Overall, the writing is clear and eloquent, and
it’s obvious the author enjoyed researching the subject
matter. Likewise, narrator Adam Sims delivers an enthusiastic
performance, using his pleasant voice to bring the writing to
life and let foreign words roll effortlessly off his tongue.
For readers unfamiliar with Gorey’s work, this book may
intrigue them enough to discover what all the controversy was
about surrounding his little picture books.