The Literary Ghost: Great Contemporary Ghost Stories

Larry Dark, Other Atlantic Monthly Press $22.95 (369p) ISBN 978-0-87113-474-5
Relying little on conventions of the genre, these 28 subtly disturbing, enigmatic modern tales are distinguished by global settings, some memorable ghostly narrators and the depiction of various religious beliefs about the spirit world. In general, they derive their chilling effect from their authors' skillful use of nuance. Setting the collection's almost-rational tone, the first story, M.F.K. Fisher's ``The Lost, Strayed, Stolen,'' follows an American in Britain as he visits an old friend and his wife--and the spirits who live with them. Among her closest living friends, the wraithly protagonist of Muriel Spark's ``The Portobello Road'' includes her murderer. The late Isaac Bashevis Singer delves into a young woman's confusion when her Jewish grandfather and Christian grandmother give her conflicting advice from the grave in ``A Crown of Feathers.'' Stories by John Gardner, Donald Barthelme, Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Milhauser, Fay Weldon, Graham Greene and Nadine Gordimer, among others, are equally rewarding. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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