Our Lady of Darkness

Narrated by: Charles Busch
Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (61 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this superb novel, originally published in 1977, Fritz Leiber explores the concept of "paramentals". Leiber makes his definitive statement on alienation within the urban environment and the capacity of concrete, steel, and glass to suck up miseries and spew forth monsters.

©1978 Estate of Fritz Leiber, Jr. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 1978 World Fantasy Award
"For anyone who loves great literature, Fritz Leiber walked on water." (Harlan Ellison)
"A first-class supernatural horror story, written with all the relaxed ease of an old master." (David Pringle, Hugo-winning editor of Interzone)

What listeners say about Our Lady of Darkness

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Outstanding!

My favorite novel by my favorite writer, "Our Lady of Darkness" by Fritz Leiber has held up for me with repeated readings, and I was delighted to finally hear this book performed on audio. Charles Busch did an outstanding job, reading the story with intelligence and verve, skillfully bringing the various characters to life with a solid array of voices. Bravo!

11 people found this helpful

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terrible narrator

story good; narrator terrible. irritating voice, frequently read sentences incorrectly with pauses in the wrong place.

6 people found this helpful

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Do Not Be Fooled!

When you come to this audiobook, immediately put aside any notion that you will encounter the named novel in any meaningful way. This is NOT about that story. What this is, is a vomitorium of words and phrases. A challenge to language! The narrator is at war with the story, and you will find yourself not only at war with the story as well, but with the narrator too!
What this is, instead, is an avant-garde exploration of the limits of grammar and structure. And pronunciation. How many syllables should you use to pronounce a word? As few or as many as you want! Words are grouped in anti-intuitive and un-interconnected ways. Abandon your puny notions of sentences. This is a work of performance art and we are in no position to judge it: we are forced to experience it, against our will. Who are we to say if it is good or nah?

The experience, such as it is, is best summed up by this passage from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass:

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Audible should give you back TWO credits for this fraudulent title!

3 people found this helpful

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I don't really know what to think!

This novel was...odd. I liked some of the concepts in it, and appreciated the nods to M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft. However, I found it a bit confusing and silly at times. I really enjoyed Conjure Wife and was looking forward to hearing Our Lady of Darkness. I must say I was a bit disappointed! There were very good scenes and imagery however, and the ending was right out of the M.R. James story "Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad!". The narration by Charles Busch was great at times and downright awful at others. Meh.

2 people found this helpful

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Urban fantasy of the West coast variety

Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness is an urban fantasy set in San Francisco in the 70's. Somewhat autobiographical in nature, the plot concerns a young writer following the death of his wife and his alcoholic binge. With an interest in the occult, he finds a diary and gradually comes to believe that he is the subject of a long lived curse by an earlier turn of the century practitioner of black magic as a result of his coincidental residence in close proximity to the former. There is much interweaving of real historical figures into the tale of a cabal decades earlier that set up conditions today.

The admixture of horror and fantasy is blended nicely for this urban tale. Leiber throws in quite a bit of Jungian psychology as well as contrived behaviors of real individuals who had been connected with San Francisco at the time. There is also considerable discussion of the notion that large dense concentrations of humans in cities can give rise to these supernatural phenomena,

The narration is respectable, although unremarkable. Pacing is quick making for a short listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 05-07-20

What did I just try to listen to?

I have no idea what the point of this was. It is like Jack Kerouac tried to write a...horror novel, I guess? It had promise. There was a really cool scene when the main character went on a walk. Otherwise, it is hard to follow, poorly written, and nonsensical.

I've tried to finish it 6 times. I've started and then just can't. I have almost 1000 books in my audivle library. This will be relegated to the "life is too short to spend time on nonsense" catagory.

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Beware Of Narrator

Reader beware if this books Narrator. listen to the preview and decide for yourself. I found his voice to be very offputting and take away from what could be a good story. I was only capable of stomaching 30 minutes of this before putting and end to it.

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WTF

This has got to be the worst audible book I have listened to. the superfluous language was continuous,the story line was all over the place and hard to follow. I listened to the end to find a storyline but never found it. there was no development of characters or story. This is the worst audible book I have bought.

1 person found this helpful

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Dreadful---Badly Written Story, Awful Narrator

What disappointed you about Our Lady of Darkness?

Just about everything.

Has Our Lady of Darkness turned you off from other books in this genre?

No...this was an exceptionally bad book

Would you be willing to try another one of Charles Busch’s performances?

Absolutely not. His flamboyant, pretentious, hystrionic reading distracted from the story and didn't enhance it at all.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom and annoyance.

Any additional comments?

This was recommended on a prominent science fiction podcast. There's no accounting for taste.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bodie
  • 06-21-12

Peerless.

Fritz was one of the great writers of the 20th Century, and I am delighted to see that his two classic novels Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness are now on Audible.

Our Lady of Darkness (I feel) is Fritz's masterwork, the semi autobiographical thread of a man emerging from alcoholism and seeing the world perhaps a little too clearly is powerful and moving. The detail of the converted hotel, and San Francisco itself bring a real sense of wonder and menace to the book and all this is delivered in Leiber's wondrous prose.

The characters we meet and get to know are a real pleasure, they are interesting people and their conversations, which weave together the back story, are just fascinating.

Riding over all this is the supernatural element, Lovecraftian paramental entities which haunt Franz and San Francisco.

The finale when it arrives is brilliantly delivered and the book and leaves one very happy to have been part of the journey.

Listened to with Conjure Wife they present wonderful bookends to an amazing career (well 40 years of it), where his more well known fantasy work has perhaps over shadowed his brilliant urban horror stories (such as Smoke Ghost) which have rarely been matched.

Fritz of course carried on to many more stories after this, often with San Francisco at it's hub, culminating in the creepy and strange 'Horrible Imaginings'.

1 person found this helpful