"What's the worst thing you've ever done?"
"Well, I won't tell you that-- but I will tell you the worst thing that's ever happened to me...The most dreadful thing..."
Imagine a glass of water. Now imagine someone comes by every half-minute or so and drops a marble into that glass of water. Now, because we're imagining, imagine the lights in wherever you are are timed to drop lower as the glass fills with marbles, and when it overfills, you have the feeling something very bad is going to happen. Plink. Plink. Plink. Each marble driving you closer to some kind of unnerving, unsettling catharsis.
This is what it's like reading Ghost Story.
I could talk about how it pays homage to the tradition of Gothic novels, how the unsettling nature of sexuality and guilt play a part in the work, but honestly, that's where I want to start. The marbles. The catharsis. Because that's the elegant part. Ghost Story is a brilliant book, a one-of-a-kind book, because it above so many other novels of its type understands subtlety and atmosphere. The book is permeated by it, but offers certain enticing and readable qualities that set it slightly above its drier predecessors. It's not a tight story, but what it lacks in tightness and tension it more than makes up in sheer atmospheric dread and richness of setting. Ghost Story nests its stories, adds stories to the overall framework, and all of it is a brilliant, if unsettling and chilling read. If ever there were a book worth tracking down, worth finding and reading voraciously, this is it
More, as always, below.