Nightmare Alley (New York Review Books Classics) by William Lindsay Gresham

By William Lindsay Gresham

Nightmare Alley begins with a rare description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the article of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going approximately his paintings at a county reasonable. younger Stan Carlisle is operating as a carny, and he wonders how a guy may well fall so low. There’s no means in hell, he vows, that whatever like that might ever ensue to him.

And seeing that Stan is smart and bold and never with out a precious streak of ruthlessness, quickly sufficient he’s going areas. Onstage he performs the mentalist with a lovable bimbo (before lengthy his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the desires of the wealthy and gullible of their well-upholstered houses. It appears like the area is Stan’s for the taking. at the very least for now.

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Extra resources for Nightmare Alley (New York Review Books Classics)

Sample text

You are thinking about what to do with the wagon. Now, Mr. ” The old man shook his head sternly. “No, ma’am, I won’t. ” There was a snicker in the crowd. One young fellow laughed out loud. Zeena drowned him out with a full-throated laugh of her own. She rallied, “Just what I wanted to find out, my friend. Folks, here we have an honest man and that’s the only sort I want to do any business with. Sure, he wouldn’t think of selling what wasn’t his, and I’m mighty glad to hear it. But let me ask you just one question, Mr.

Molly ran out and went over to the Ten-in-One and the boss fired Doc out of the carny and the kooch show went back to New York. “Fifteen thousand volts of electricity pass through her body without hurting a hair of the little lady’s head. …” Glory be to God, I hope nothing happens to that wiring. I want Dad. God, how I want him here. … “Stand over here, Teddy, and hold onto Ma’s hand. So’s you won’t git tromped on and kin see. That there’s a ’lectric chair, same’s they got in the penitentiary. No, they ain’t going to hurt the lady none, leastways I hope not.

Doc used to devil her by horsing around with them. Molly always liked Zeena, who ran the mental act in the Ten-in-One show across the midway. Zeena was awfully nice and she knew more about life and people than anybody Molly had ever met except Dad. Zeena had Molly bunk in with her, when she stayed in hotels, for company, because Zeena’s husband slept in the tent to watch the props, he said. Really it was because he was a souse and he couldn’t make love to Zeena any more. Zeena and Molly got to be real good friends and Molly didn’t wish she was dead any more.

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