"Marvelously inventive.... Profound wit and high adventure are urged on by the Lafferty madness that till now we have only seen in his short stories. The vision is peppered with nightmare: witches, lazarus-lions, hydras, porche's-panthers, programmed killers that never fail, and a burlesqued black mass. One hears of black comedy? There are places in PAST MASTER where humor goes positively ultraviolet."
"I read it in one sitting; 1 couldn't put it down. Lafferty has the power which sets fires behind your eyeballs. There is warmth, illumination and a certain joy attendant upon the experience. He's good."
"Lafferty's first full-length work is an event. As with everything the man writes, the wind of imagination blows strongly, with the happy difference that in a novel he can reach full gale-force, Lafferty defies categorization; his work is unlike anyone else's. This is a great galloping madman of a novel, drenched in sound and color."
It is a minor miracle that a serious philosophical and speculative work should be written so colorfully and so lyrically. There is, happily, no way to categorize the book: it has elements of science fiction, of pure fantasy, of poetry, of historical fiction; it is sharply critical and marvelously gentle; very serious and irrepressibly funny; profoundly symbolic and gutsy-realistic by (unexpected) turns. A first-rank speculative work."
"Why it took the world so long to gather up Lafferty's glorious short stories will probably remain one of the great unsolved mysteries. Nonetheless, we can rejoice that someone has finally done it, and we can settle back to appreciating the special magic proffered by the madman Lafferty.
"Lafferty's irrepressible humor is in the best tradition of the great jesters; sometimes it gooses, sometimes it whacks, but nearly always there is something solid underneath the whimsy.
"R.A. Lafferty is one of the most original writers in science fiction. He bends or breaks normal story restrictions apparently at will, pokes fun at serious matters and breaks into a kind of folk-lyricism over grotesqueries. All this, plus the most unfettered imagination we've enjoyed in many years.
"This curious and wonderful tall tale contributes to the apocalyptic revision of American history that began with Little Big Man and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It's the tale of Hannali Innominee, a 'Mingo' or natural lord of the 19th-century Choctaw Indian [and] a capacious, indomitable giant of the ilk of Paul Bunyan.... Lafferty tells it straight: how the Choctaw nation, once removed, reconstituted itself and thrived in Indian territory..., how there came a schism between the rich, part-white, slave-owning, moneylending Choctaws and the 'feudal, compassionate, chauvinistic' full-blooded freeholders like Hannali; and how, during the Civil War, the Indians were manipulated divide-and-conquer fashion in helping destroy each other."
`The history of the Choctaw Indians has been told before and is still being told, but it has never been told in the way Lafferty tells it.... Hannali is a buffalo bull of a man who should become one of the enduring characters in the literature of the American Indian.
"The use of the epic form is unusual and effective, and Lafferty's humor is both subtle and boisterous: he writes with warmth and sympathy for the Indians. This is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the subject.
"(Okla Hannali] is elemental Americana and a great deal of fun.
"It's an American classic."
- Voice Literary Supplement.
"R.A. Lafferty has always been uniquely his own man, but in this book he surpasses himself. It is wild, subtle, demonic, angelic, hilarious, tragic, poetic, a thundering melodrama and a quest into the depths of the human spirit. You'll think about it for a long time and probably go back to it more than once.
"Whom the gods would destroy, they should first have read FOURTH MANSIONS. The closest comparison I can think of is a psychedelic morality play where the Virtues and Vices keep sneaking offstage and switching masks. One comes away from it as one awakens from a dream.
"Raphael Aloysius Lafferty is one prodigious liar and FOURTH MANSIONS is his best and longest lie. It's as strange and inventive a book as I have ever read, like some fantastic amalgam of A. E. van Vogt and The Circus of Dr. Lao, but no one would have written it this way but Lafferty.
ARRIVE AT EASTERWINE:
There is only one R. A. Lafferty -- luckily. It is doubtful that tired old Earth could stand more. But Lafferty was never the man to be content with being one of a kind. It is necessary for Lafferty, who is drunk on words at least nine-tenths of the time, to create other one-of-a-kinds. That way he has company. And since no mere mortal would even want to be cast in this role, it is really very logical that Lafferty should make a companion of a multi-personalitied machine. Really. It follows that ARRIVE AT EASTERWINE is a logical book. Other people call it "hilarious," "surrealistic," "a carnival," "Science Fiction?", "for large public and academic libraries," "delighting, bemusing and exasperating," "I'm not sure what it is," (there's always that percentage), "witty," "mind-tingling" and so on, ad infinitum. We bet we're the only ones who find it logical. You make up your own mind.
SHADOWS (Horror Short Story Collection)
R. A. Lafferty looks at the world, not through a glass darkly, but through a glass splintered. Buried beneath a style that no one has been able to dissect with any real success without killing it, there is a melancholy and wry grin that is able to twist what is known (or possible) into something as yet unseen by the human mind.
There is humor to be sure.
But scattered throughout the punchlines, the stories, the asides that seem to smirk at that which has come before, there are implementations of what appear to be cast-off material that, when constructed on the foundation of a last line, contain more shudders than the best Techni-color vampire.
It's an aftereffect.
Like a razor that summons pain after the blood has been spilled.