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am 14. Juni 1998
Robert W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow" is a book within a book. Or, more properly, it's a collection of macabre short stories with a common theme; a fictional two-act play that brings decadence, hallucinations, and madness to any reader.
The stories within this collection, published in 1895, are set in a fictional militaristic 1920s in both the USA and Europe. The tales stand free of each other, and are told from a number of different perspectives, by socialites, soldiers, and artists. Each tells how the lives of the narrator and colleagues have been affected by reading "The King in Yellow", a controversial play that has been denounced by the church and suppressed by governments. After coming into contact with it, their lives are tragically affected. Some find themselves hounded by shadowy agents, while others become confused and delusional. Others are driven to act out the play's sad and decadent events, while some simply go insane.
The substance of the play itself is only alluded to, or hinted at in brief extracts. It is clearly a tragedy, but the motivations and actions of its central characters, including the mysterious King in Yellow himself, are not clear. Like many authors of macabre tales, Chambers was content for our imaginations to do the work, and this book is more powerful for it.
(And by the way, if the central theme of a forbidden book that induces insanity is familiar to you, you've probably read some of the Mythos tales of H.P.Lovecraft. In fact, I doubt that too many people come to read "The King in Yellow" by any other route; Chambers' book is clearly stated as a strong influence on Lovecraft's work.)
To be honest, I was shocked to find myself reading a book that was over a HUNDRED years old, an activity I had assumed was reserved for crusty academics and lovers of classical literature. But, more pointedly, I was surprised to find that "The King in Yellow" is a highly readable volume, full of entertaining, colourful and disturbi! ng tales with a very modern feel to them.
The only downside I found was that the final few stories lose the central theme. I found myself wondering if these thinner, romantic tales, were more representative of Chambers' other work, and were, in effect, "fillers". But perhaps I missed the point? It is only this that stops me from awarding five stars to this impressive book.
Overall, if you've had a bellyful of today's crop of relentless gore and explicit sexuality, take a literary Alka Seltzer by checking out the "King in Yellow".
It's a classic, and I'm not talking Jane Austen.
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So, you've probably read some Lovecraft stuff and got attracted by the reference to "The King in Yellow". You're looking for something remotely similar to Lovecraft. There is good news and bad news.

Good news first. There are four tales in this book who may be regarded as somewhat "Lovecraftian" (although they're older than Lovecraft's writing), and they make up for about the first half of the book. They're really amazing and have an weird feeling to them - a bit more subtle than Lovecraft, and not containing real shockers or horrifying relevations. The stories revolving around the fictional play "The King in Yellow" have a very dense and chilling atmosphere, especially the first one, which I regard as the best in the whole book ("The repairer of reputations").

Now the bad news. The rest of the book is not connected at all to these first great stories, and the change of atmosphere and topic is VERY striking, to the point of being confusing - the editor of the compilation must have had a very strange sense of humour to put these stories in one book. While one of the stories is very good, anticipating the horrors of World War I in an extremely dense and gripping narration of a bomb attack on a besieged Paris, the others are VERY petty and ineffectual romantic tales that can be skipped entirely (I'd recommend that actually - especially in the last two tales, you're always waiting for something, for ANYTHING to happen - but it doesn't).

Conclusion - 5 great stories, 4 of which are definitely worthy for Lovecraft fans, and one which is amazing but not connected to the Lovecraftian theme. The rest is not even filler but rubbish. 5 stars for the 5 stories, but 3 for the whole compilation, makes 4 stars.
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am 18. November 2011
I'm a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft fiction. The King in Yellow was interesting for me as it is well known that the great Master took some inspiration out of Chambers work.

Not all stories are the same quality but most are very good and some of them are really small masterpieces.
The Yellow sign or the King in Yellow itself appear in nearly every story, and those who don't contain this subjects are linked to the others that do by small, casual connections.

People reading Poe, Lovecraft and similar authors should like this small book very much.
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am 2. März 2014
The text comes from a crappy scan: the font is all broken up and hard to read. The layout is erratic and visually disturbing. You don't notice these kind of things usually, because big publishers have set standards that they always live up to. But this just jumped out at me the moment I opened the book.

Also, the cover is just a general cover the publisher uses for all their "Forgotten Books".

I returned my copy and got another version instead.
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am 30. August 1997
The King in Yellow is a group of thinly connected short stories all dealing with the effect of a two act play titled "The King in Yellow". The play will show up in the lives and libraries of the victums as if it has a dark soul and will of its own.

All that find this work are blasted in a horrific cosmic game of tag that is some of the darkest fiction in weird literature.

Published in 1895 by a young art student who wrote most of it while living in Paris, the King in Yellow and the early work of Robert W. Chambers were an influence on the work H. P. Lovecraft. Some feel that The King in Yellow is the source of the Necronomicon.

For more information on the work of Robert W. Chambers see: [...]

Larry Loc
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am 22. April 2016
Terrible layout, horrifying quality and typeset. Unreadable!
Thus, i cant say anything about the content.
You can't even use the thing for decoration because its so ugly. Probably printed on demand?
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am 4. September 2015
Angetrieben durch die Serie "True Detective" habe ich mir den Roman von Robert W. Chambers bestellt. Leider wurde ich bitter enttäuscht. Der Roman ist in verschiedene Kurzgeschichten gegliedert die alle mit dem "King in Yellow" in Verbindug stehen. So weit so gut. Teilweise finde ich die Handlung einfach verwirrend oder sinnlos. Das liegt aber eher an meinem persönlichen Geschmack und daran dass ich eine bestimmte Vorstellung von dem Buch hatte, die leider nicht erfüllt wurde. Die englische Ausgabe würde ich auch nur Leuten empfehlen, die wirklich sehr gutes Englisch sprechen und schon andere fremdsprachige Bücher gelesen haben. Ich selber studiere Englisch und hatte an einigen Stellen selbst Probleme den Roman zu verstehen. Alles in Allem hat mir das Buch nicht gefallen, wer jedoch auf anspruchsvolle Literatur und eine etwas andere Horrorgeschichte steht sollte sich den Roman nicht entgehen lassen.
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