Dark World: Ghost Stories

Edited by Timothy Parker Russell. Tartarus (www.tartaruspress.com), $24 (188p) ISBN 978-1-905784-53-0
Not all the 14 well-told tales in this commendable horror anthology feature ghosts in the traditional sense, but all are imbued to some degree with the classic ghost story's eerie representation of something from the past invading the present. In Reggie Oliver's "Come into My Parlour," a vindictive aunt gifts her nephew with an antiquarian book whose creepy illustrations appear to slip off the page and come to life in his world. Anna Taborska's "First Night" tells of a contemporary young man who goes looking for his family's lost estate and runs afoul of a curse placed on one of his ancestors. In Steve Rasnic Tem's poignant "Wheatfield with Crows," the spectral presence that manifests is as much the expression of a family's all-consuming grief than it is the spirit of the loved one they lost. Whether they provide their ghosts with a rationale for appearing, or present them as frightening because they are inexplicable, all the authors exercise restraint in their storytelling that encourages readers to fit their own worst fears to the story's supernatural events. This anthology, whose proceeds will benefit the Amala Children's Home of India, is Russell's first, but it shows a seasoned editor's understanding of effective weird tale telling. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/2013
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