Book Talk 1/4/19: Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghosts
Book of Ghosts by Roald Dahl Farrar Strauss Giroux 1983
Amazon’s Blurb: Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he relates in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. “Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story,” Dahl writes. “It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.
My review: This anthology is haunting! Roald Dahl does a wonderful job of picking just the right ghost story in these. W.S. by L.P. Hartley for instance begins with an author getting messages from a W.S. At first, he dismisses as a fanatic and then as the postcards get closer to home, he finds himself dreading what is to come. Harry by Rosemary Timperley was to me, the most haunting. The idea of your child in danger, even if it is from their “imaginary friend” unnerves you. The Telephone by Mary Treadgold is another chilling story. A woman competes with the dead wife of her husband whom she stole from her. There are many more in this anthology but those three stood out to me. I enjoyed reading this as Christmas came upon us while I learned of the tradition to read ghost stories during this time of year in England. I think I may repeat this again next year.