cover image Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo

Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo

Miyuki Miyabe, trans. from the Japanese by Daniel Huddleston. Haikasoru (, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4215-6742-6

Miyabe's (All She Was Worth) collection of ghost stories is suffused with a palpable, memorable sense of time and place: 18th century lower Tokyo. Translated beautifully by Daniel Huddleston, the book retains a decorous, old sound while conveying the dingy creepiness of a night spent on a futon while unhappy spirits batter at the windows. Each of these eight long-form ghost stories are set in a prosaic workaday atmosphere, in which maids and seamstresses, wealthy young men, lovers and the elderly live alongside the Oni (ghosts) that haunt them. The ghosts in these stories are family members torn asunder, lovers betrayed, forsaken brothers%E2%80%94their presence is daily in the lives of the characters and their revenge is drawn out and deeply psychological. "The Futon Storeroom" is an especially gripping story of a young girl who goes to work for a family of sake wholesalers. Most of the action occurs in a battle between an evil spirit who eats human souls and possesses the leftover empty bodies and the ghost of the young girl's beloved older sister. Miyabe has thoroughly infused the eerie with the everyday in this collection; the dead are as much among the living as trees and rocks and eating utensils%E2%80%94snub them at your peril. (Nov.)