24 February 2012

Ghost Stories!

I finished Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James.  The amazon link is not the volume i read; my copyright was 1994 and had a much less cheesy cover, just a grey old castle at sunset.  The stories really are short as the book has 30 stories in it's 350 pages.  It was the sort of book where the stories really do start to blend together.  They are proper Victorian ghost stories: often second or third hand, vague, moody.  

my favorites were "The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance" which was an epistolary story about the search for a missing man and his strange reappearance, "Wailing Well" about what happens to bad boys who don't do as they are told, "Casting the Runes" which had a hint of a caper story about it, and "The Mezzotint" which was a very creepy one about a picture that changes every time you look at it, telling a story of murder. When done well, the stories can be deliciously creepy. 

There were several I really had no fraking clue about, "Two Doctors" and "The Uncommon Prayerbook" come to mind.  My edition also had a weird way of only giving some of the translations for various bits of Latin.  One in particular was at the end of the story and Google translate failed me.  I got that it involved a vampire but not the verb so the dramatic reveal was a bit lost on me.  


This is a book to sip.  The few times i tried to really read several stories straight through I got muddled. I would read a few, pause for a drink, then have a hard time remembering which i was reading.  I would recommend it for RIP; a story a day leading up to Halloween would be a wonderful way to read it.  overall a 5.

1 comment:

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