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Publisher's Summary

Nightmare Alley is American author William Lindsay Gresham’s first and best-known work. The novel - most admired by noir fiction fans - was published in 1946, adapted into a film in 1947 starring Tyrone Power and subsequently printed as a graphic novel by Spain Rodriquez. During the 1940s Gresham worked as an editor for a genuine crime pulp magazine in New York, during which period he wrote this book; characters range from hustlers to Machiavellian femme fatales in a dark world of show business. Stan Carlisle is an ambitious ‘carny’ who eventually becomes a spiritualist for the rich and gullible. It appears that the world is at his feet, but not everything is as it seems….

©1946 Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Nightmare Alley

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Classic Noir

Where does Nightmare Alley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of greatest psychological thrillers, both of its time and ours.

What about Adam Sims’s performance did you like?

Excellent characterization of each voice. Realistic not cartoonish. A perfect match of voice and text.

Any additional comments?

This is a book for adults that implies much without being graphic. It is a dark, dark, look into human nature-- a cynical, and keenly observed depiction of greed, ambition, deception, and ultimately self-destruction. Plus, Gresham provides a personally researched glimpse inside the now almost-gone world of the carnival midway, not to mention the old tricks psychics still use to this day, to exploit the gullible and desperate.

8 people found this helpful

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Step right up, ladies & gentlemen...

Where does Nightmare Alley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's in my top 5.

What about Adam Sims’s performance did you like?

There's a moment where Stanton loses it for a bit and starts laughing. I've listened to that part in this over and over. It was a caliber of performance that I've never even seen in stage plays. I was in awe of the entire thing.

7 people found this helpful

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A bore

Performance was awesome but story was all over the place. The premises was good but it lacked alot.

1 person found this helpful

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I could not stop listening

Big big fan of the Tyrone Power Joan Blondell movie just stumbled across the book. I absolutely loved it and the narration was some of the best I've heard.

1 person found this helpful

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The film was much better!

I am an avid reader and found this to be tedious. There were no hidden gems or character development. The film has a better storyline.

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Rather lengthy but excellent writing with incredible characters and had seen the movie

Unique Storyline as well as characters and very descriptive writing. I had seen movie seen which correlated

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Bleak

It was an interesting story about the sleezy side of carneys and the characters on the make. I felt that it dragged in the middle but I have to admit I didn't see the ending coming so it redeemed itself somewhat. The narrator was excellent and able to fall in to many different characters. It was well written but very depressing but if you are interested in learning how cons work and how karma can bite you in the butt it's worth reading.

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starts good

then drags a bit after. makes some confusing jumps in time. great narrator. its ok.

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very nice noir

Classic style, amazing narrator, sorry has interesting turns. Reminds me of James M. Cain's stories.

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superbly surprised

This book is great. The story is HA HA( Not) funny. And they ending, I will listen again, just for the end.!
Well worth it!
ALL OF IT!.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-22

Brilliant.An audio must listen for all noir fans..

The audio equivalent of being pushed into a bath of raw crude oil,and held under .?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Faichney
  • 01-26-22

Outstanding!

Brilliant book and the audio narration by Adam Sims is outstanding! Highly recommend. Can't wait to see the film.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TIM H.
  • 05-18-22

Lucky in love

I bought two books one a organised crime thriller and this, muddling I read this which soon seemed more Frued than Marx but was glued because it sent me this way and that through the emotions from male jealousy and gentler notions of care and compassion hardboiled style

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-22

pointless

advertised as a suspenful thriller, when infact it is a pointless bore of a book, let's hope the movie is nothing like this.

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  • Asmodeous
  • 01-08-22

An Outstanding Story/Narration - Brilliant Audio

This is a darkly themed, psychological masterpiece. A very well written American Noir which really puts the reader in the very heart of the story. I don’t want to say too much about the story as others have described it well without ruining the plot and you just need to go in with as little knowledge as possible about the story and trust that this is one hell of a brilliant story teller. There were many stand out moments in the story but one really Wtf scene that might be the single most darkly comic moment in the history of all fiction. A special word must go to the narrator. What a wonderful performance that just grew in it ]s brilliance as the story went along - I am sure the narrator enjoyed the story and the vocalising the incredible cast of characters. I think this narration definitely added to the story and I will now be seeking out the narrators other works,

A final note is that the book has now been filmed two times - in 1946 or around then with Tyrone Power and more recently (2021) starring Bradley Cooper. I was wondering whether to watch one of the films first and then read the book, My strong advice would be to read the book first - the subtle complexity into the characters inner lives and the world described can only be glimpsed at in a film adaptation. The book is a must read and in my humble opinion is up there with the best of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Faulkner but it is an incredibly accessible read and fascinating from start to finish. This is the only book I have enjoyed that I long to re-read again at the next earliest opportunity, to savour it all again.

It is tragic that the author was not able to produce other masterpieces - I think though he may have put his very soul into the book and the pdf. that accompanies the book or introduction section if you buy the kindle or paperback book version reveal that life can also tragically imitate art.

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  • DHP
  • 01-08-22

Excellent

A great story, excellent narration. Really atmospheric and transports you into a lost carnival world. Superb.

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  • Shane O'Bryan
  • 11-28-21

Great primer for the movie

Already one of the best 20th century American noirs, the reading by Sims is flawless. He is amazing at manifesting each character.