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A City of Ghosts: Stories Paperback – August 27, 2010
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About the Author
Betsy Phillips lives just outside of Nashville in Whites Creek, TN. She has seen a ghost in her back yard.
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Top customer reviews
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Of course, my bias and friendship with the author also lends an additional layer of richness to this already wealthy collection of stories. Over the years I've read nearly a hundred ghost story compilations, as I'm unable to resist a good, well-placed scare. I grew up and still practice a religion that centers around brutal execution, human sacrifice and the paranormal. So a good ghost story can not only scare me but can also create a feeling of warmth and comfort. (Have you heard the one about the ghost sent to comfort people when their best friend leaves the planet?)
These ghost stories--invented by Phillips in a twin homage to Italo Calvino's Hidden Cities and the old-fashioned haint tales of the Appalachians--are some of the best examples of how to haunt a page. They are none of them overlong, serving as snapshots for the Nashvilles of past and present. Some are funny, like a poltergeist who shifts your keys when you aren't looking. Some are truly scary. like a hook hanging from your date's car door. There are also a couple that leave you wistful, with a tear in your eye and a bit of a bruise on your heart. Not unlike Nashville's most famous product--country music. In fact, it's best to consider this book a sort of Juke Box for the Other Realms.
It's a guided tour of Nashville's haunted spot, and at each location, you discover its ghost and learn a bit of that ghost's tale.
At first, I found myself wishing the author had filled the tales in more, expanded them, answered all of the questions. By the time I finished the book, I was glad that she hadn't. Each tale is what it is; it felt like the tales were more true by not being embroidered or "enhanced". Her approach gives the tales a feel of authenticity.
I found myself carrying this book with me everywhere, because whenever I had a few free minutes, I could pop back into the book and enjoy more of the haunted spots in Nashville. It was a wonderful read.
So, knowing that, you've got to understand why I ADORED this book! It's chock full of the kind of one-three page short ghost stories easy to remember and retell.
The BEST part of this collection...? Every story is made up...except for one. I know the secret, but you're going to have to guess!
(And possibly email the author and ask her!)
Betsy Phillips knows her city---past and present.
I recommend "A City of Ghosts" to any reader who enjoys reading--to paraphrase Mark Twain- good stories well told.