One of the twentieth century's most darkly beautiful works of crime fiction—a story of carny life, spiritualism, and a con man of merciless resolve.
Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd's gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There's no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.
And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he's going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan's for the taking. At least for now.
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About William Lindsay Gresham
Gresham (1909-1962) was born in Baltimore and grew up in New York City.
Gresham’s was a tortured mind and a tormented life, and seeking to banish his
demons, he lost himself in a maze of what proved dead ends—from Marxism to
psychoanalysis to Christianity to Alcoholics Anonymous to Rinzai Zen Buddhism.
From these demons came his novel Nightmare
Alley, one of the underground classics of American literature. He wrote one
more novel, Limbo Tower, which went
largely unnoticed. Three non-fiction books followed: Monster Midway, Houdini, and
The Book of Strength. Nightmare Alley brought Gresham fame and
fortune, but he lost it all. The second of this three wives, the poet Joy
Davidman, left him in 1953 for the British author C. S. Lewis. In declining
health, he killed himself in New York City on September 14, 1962.
About Peter Berkrot
Peter Berkrot, winner of Audie and Earphones Awards for narration, is a stage, screen, and television actor and acting coach. He has narrated over 450 works that span a range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, thriller, and children’s titles. His audiobook credits include works of Alan Glynn, Eric Van Lustbader, Nora Roberts and Dean Koontz. In film and television, he appeared in Caddyshack, America’s Most Wanted, and Unsolved Mysteries. He performs in regional and New York theaters and directs the New Voices acting school.