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Gothic Ghosts Hardcover – October, 1997
The Amazon Book Review
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Editors Charles Grant and Wendy Webb explain that they were looking, in this anthology, for stories with mood and atmosphere, for traditional, character-driven stories. They also sought to showcase the ways in which the Gothic terror genre, which originated in 1765 with Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto, has evolved into a contemporary form:
Some have said that the principal elements of Gothic are the presence of the supernatural and a quality inherent in the world that arouses such feelings as fear or terror. To some degree, that's still true, but instead of castles and stark terror, today's Gothic atmosphere, and what we sought, can be found in narrow alleyways, a moonless waterfront, or in the corner of a familiar room where light always falls short. And it can be found deep within each of us.And so these 19 tales are steeped in melancholy, in an oddly gentle form of despair. Carrie Richardson's "Nuestra Señora" is told by a man who helps two lovers, a man and a ghost, meet once a year in the eerie spaces of a flooded church. Jessica Amanda Salmonson's well-crafted "A Mirror for Eyes of Winter" is about an aged widow caught in a winter storm: "It seemed to me that death was an icy terror that displaced the soul; it was a dark, dark cloud, iron hard even though insubstantial." Other tales feature ghosts that lure people into facing long-buried secrets, ghosts that seek to pull their loved ones into death, and even the hoary image of ghosts haunting crumbling ruins.
If this anthology has a drawback, it's only that the artistically conservative style may seem a bit tame to some readers. But the stories in Gothic Ghosts are subtle and well crafted, and will definitely please fans of understated horror. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Anthology of 19 new ghostly tales, although few whomp up any sort of gothic atmosphere or induce shivers. The more effective tales: Brian Stableford's ``Seers,'' about an old woman imprisoned by the ghosts she sees even though they can't physically affect her; ``Unexpected Attraction,'' a rather waggish tale of a duped lover gaining his revenge upon a conniving ghost (Matthew J. Costello); and the one genuinely haunting piece here, Russell J. Handelman's ``And the City Unfamiliar,'' about the motives and perceptions of a ghost who, pathetically, doesn't realize that he is a ghost. Elsewhere the offerings are more or less standard: several who's-the-ghost variations, a woman saved from death by the ghost of a dog, evil children's ghosts trapped in fireplaces, a hotel resort fire, a vengeful stonecutter, a possessive homicidal house, storytelling ghosts, the ghost of an old woman's youth, a mother's ghost who seeks replacements for her own vanished children, a dominating mother, a sick joke that goes awry, a philandering father, and more. Except for the few noted above: a bland assortment without much range or depth. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.