Nightmare Alley - William Lindsay Gresham 1946 - Rinehart and Company, New York Toronto - First Edition ‘While I've known for a long time that William Lindsay Gresham's "Nightmare Alley" was an established classic of noir fiction, I was utterly unprepared for its raw, Dostoevskian power. Why isn't this book on reading lists with Nathanael West's "Miss Lonelyhearts" and Albert Camus' "The Stranger"? It's not often that a novel leaves a weathered and jaded reviewer like myself utterly flattened, but this one did.’ - Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 2010.

Nightmare Alley follows the exploits of Stanton Carlisle, a ruthless hustler who learns the tricks of the carny trade and uses them to prey on the wealthy and the weak. Carlisle's determined rise to power and inevitable plunge into depravity is more than great drama, it is an evisceration of the post-war American dream.

Never was noir more autobiographical than here…. Nightmare Alley remains a masterpiece, not only due to its driving narrative power, but because it’s underpinned by the premise that the human animal is alone, helpless in the face of destiny, stumbling in the dark, down the nightmare alley toward the inevitable wall of death at the end. Yet we can’t stop ourselves hoping, and fearing, that there might be something beyond that wall. The message of this disquieting book couldn’t be more human, yet that message is metaphysical rather than moral." – Richard Rayner,
Los Angeles Times, 2010.
  ‘Mr. Gresham yanked the reviewer into the midst of his macabre and compelling novel, and kept him a breathless captive until the tour was over. It's a truly rewarding whirl through his nightmare alley…All of it adds up to Grade-A guignol with a touch of black magic about it…If you enjoy hundred-proof evil-and a cogent analysis of same with your nightcap-then, in the words of the Ten-in-One barker, hurry, hurry, hurry!’ – James MacBride, The New York Times.

‘Gresham reached the end of his own alley on Sept. 14, 1962. He'd recently published an excellent, and successful, biography of Houdini, and producers were trying to turn it into a musical. Outward signs suggested that a career was on the rise again, but Gresham's grasp of himself was fallible, and there were big problems. Suffering from cancer of the tongue, still an alcoholic, still grieving the death of Davidman (she died in 1960, after her own long struggle against cancer), knowing that C.S. Lewis was doing a better job of providing for his sons than he could, Gresham checked into the Dixie Hotel in Times Square and swallowed a lot of pills. "Man Said to Be Author Is Found Dead in Hotel," said a report in the next day's New York Times. Gresham, one of life's savage and self-destructive ironists, would have appreciated that "said to be."’ – Richard Rayner,
Los Angeles Times, 2010.

Gresham's ‘legacy was a brilliant and horrific book - read it and you'll never refer to someone as a geek again.’ –
The Times (London)

First edition with publisher’s circled ‘R’ to verso of title page (copyright page). Octavo (21 x 14.8 cm) pp. [10] 275 [3]. In publisher's black cloth, spine lettered in gilt over green block, top edge tinted green. Dust jacket priced $2.50 to upper corner of front flap.
  Condition: Near fine, very light wear to corners and spine ends, in near fine dust jacket, light wear to edges and corners, 2mm closed tear to top edge of front panel.   Ref: 108664   Price: HK$ 8,000