It has been said that Ligotti is the modern master of the weird sub genera and a descendant of the tradition that began with Poe and expanded made popular by Lovecraft, although posthumously. I enthusiastically agree.
With The Last Feast of Harlequin, Ligotti respectfully stays within the boundaries of the Lovecraftian short story tradition. He uses the investigative first person witness point of view to good effect. I don’t think that we are ever given a name, but we are told that he an anthropologist who is obsessed with the historical portrayal of the clowns. This obsession leads him to the town of Mirocaw where they celebrate annually a Fools Feast.
When he arrives in Mirocaw, he is very excited to participate in what he thinks will be jovial tomfoolery. He has brought his makeup and high hopes for the Yule time celebration. However, the festival is not what he expected. The deeper he involves himself in the festivities the more he begins to question his own sanity.
This is a must read for any Mythos fan.
Ligotti, Thomas. “The Last Feast of Harlequin.” The Shadow at the Bottom of the World. New York: Cold Spring Press, 2005. p. 17 - 52