Tartarus Press


Sorry - this book is now out of print



Worming the Harpy

and other Bitter Pills


Rhys Hughes


Afterword by E.F. Bleiler


Imagine (if you dare) a whimsical marriage of Lord Dunsany and S.J. Perelman, and you have something approaching the tales of Rhys Hughes, filled with gaudy colour, slapstick, puns, fantastic creatures, and the occasional unexpected chill. Hughes' world is a magical one - and his language if the most magical thing of all. Ted Klein, author of The Ceremonies


The tales contained within Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills are set in a surreal world of nightmares all too closely identifiable with real life. If The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was retouched by Ralph Steadman, with The Rolling Stones 'Sympathy for the Devil' as a soundtrack, you would have only the slightest inkling of the scintillating and horrific world conjured by Rhys Hughes. For too long out of print, we are pleased to make this collection available once again, now in paperback.


As E.F. Bleiler states in his Afterword: "What do I like about Rhys Hughes's work? Fun. Hughes sees and precipitates in words the latent humour in almost anything."


Contents: 'Cat o' Nine Tales', 'Worming the Harpy', 'The Falling Star', 'Quasimodulus', 'The Good News Grimoire', 'The Forest Chapel Bell', 'Flintlock Jaw', 'Velocity Oranges', 'A Carpet Seldom Found', 'The Chimney', 'One Man's Meat', 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife's Hat for the Mad Hatter's Wife', 'Cello I Love You', 'What To Do When the Devil Comes Round For Tea', 'Arquebus for Harlequin', 'Éclair de Lune', 'Grinding the Goblin', 'Afterword' by E.F. Bleiler .



'The stories are essentially literature in its purest form - wonderfully rumbustuous, humorous, word-magical fantasies, liberally peppered with honest-to-goodness horror. They remind me of Lord Dunsany, John Barth, Jorge Luis Borges, Jack Vance, involving fabulous traditions of surrealism, fairy stories and piquant wit . . . Rhys Hughes’ book is one that I had dreamed of reading but never thought I’d be so lucky ever to do so in real life.' Deathrealm

'Rhys Hughes is a very good writer . . . a fabulist whose sense of the absurd is peerless.' Grotesque

'The overall tone is one of disturbing, occasionally shocking surrealism . . . fans and others who are looking for something significantly offbeat in supernatural fiction will be delighted with this, his first book.' All Hallows


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