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The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories

The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories - Robert W. Chambers, E.F. Bleiler This is a collection of short stories from an American writer who is not widely known these days. He is also credited with having influenced some horror writers including H.P. Lovecraft.
The King in Yellow
This collection mentions horror in its title; this is misleading as only first four stories can be qualified for this genre. Some blurbs mention the stores have common theme of fictional book The King in Yellow present in them (think about it as a small and much less harmful version of Lovecraft's Necronomicon); this is misleading as well: that book makes its appearance only in the first four stories. It actually has a very brief cameo in the second story when the main character, being depressed grabbed a random book from a bookshelf and realizing it was The King in Yellow threw it away in disgust.

So let me try to make a quick summary of the stories. As I mentioned above the first four (The Repairer of Reputations, The Mask, In the Court of the Dragon, and The Yellow Sign) belong to horror genre with the moral that reading the second act of The King in Yellow is a Really Bad Idea. I mentioned the influence on horror genre; the one of the fourth story in particular can be seen in later works by other writers.

I think the best description of the next story (The Demoiselle d'Ys) would be fantasy romance.

The next one (The Street of the Four Winds) defies the qualifications. A story of a cat with gloomy ending would be the best I can come up with.

The next (The Street of the First Shell) is about horrors of war which takes place in war-torn Paris.

The last two (The Street of Our Lady of the Fields, and Rue Barrée) are romances about love between a young American man and a French woman of lower social standing. The couples are different, but some characters appear in both stories. I would like to mention a romantic scene of the last story when a drunken guy climbs into an apartment of unsuspecting lone woman in the evening. It is romantic, is not it?

The best horror story I mentioned - The Yellow Sign - deserves 4.5 stars for its lasting influence if nothing else. The rest of the stories while never boring are really nothing to write home about. Considering the price of the book (it is free from Project Gutenberg) I feel I got my money worth. I can name a lot of much worse ways to spend a couple of evenings than to read this book. Three stars is the rating, nothing more, nothing less.