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Friday, October 30, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse book review..."The Ghost Writer"

It's time for my monthly book review hosted by The Cephalopod Coffeehouse  over at http://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/?m=1

For October I decided to review The Ghost Writer by John Harwood.  It wasn't the best book I read this month, although there really weren't any standouts. Since tomorrow is Halloween I thought that a horror novel would be appropriate.

Well. This book was definitely creepy in parts. It's the story of a young boy named Gerard growing up in Australia whose mother had immigrated from England before he was born. Her early life is a mystery, and she refuses to tell him much of anything about her past. He sneaks a look inside a locked drawer one day and discovers a photograph of his great grandmother, who wrote and published ghost stories in the 1890's. His mother goes absolutely mad with rage when she finds him going through the drawer but still won't tell him anything about why there's the need for such secrecy.  Shortly afterwards, a mysterious young girl named Alice writes to him and wants to become pen pals. Then things get really weird....

Things get a bit confusing sometimes  because several of Viola's (the great grandmother) stories are told in the course of the novel. Her children and grandchildren find and read them, and it's quickly apparent that some of them are actually coming true. The characters are hard to keep straight after a while, and the ending is kind of messy. But there are some genuinely spine - tingling moments..my favorite is when a woman is reading in a library, and a thick fog starts to creep up around her. Then she realizes that a porcelain doll is coming after her in the fog....and she can hear the rustling of it's dress....and as she tries to feel her way out, she keeps waiting to feel it's cold little porcelain hand touch her....the thought made me shudder! There's not much creepier than porcelain dolls, in my opinion!

Overall, The Ghost Writer was a good Halloween read, but not something I would bother re-reading.

14 comments:

  1. It's nice of you to review something that's in keeping with the holiday. Happy Halloween!

    Love,
    Janie

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  2. Sounds fun. I'm not usually one for scary stories but it is certainly keeping with the season.

    Happy Halloween!

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    1. I'm not much of a horror fan, either. But since it was October a scary novel seemed appropriate!

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  3. I am in complete agreement: nothing is scarier than porcelain dolls. As kids, one of my cousins used to scare us senseless with tales of "The Fingernail Lady," a doll who came to life and attacked children with her fingernails :)

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    1. Yes, it was truly horrifying....the fact that the woman couldn't see the doll chasing her, but she knew it was there...and could hear the clicking of it's porcelain feet and the rustling of it's dress...ugh! "The Fingernail Lady" sounds like something that would have scared me half to death as a child!

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  4. I'm not terribly keen on Ghost Stories as such, but I did used to enjoy Edgar Allan Poe stories when I was much younger. HAPPY Halloween.

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    1. I like Edgar Allan Poe stories, but I really love his poetry!

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  5. Not a ghost story reader. I like suspenseful and mysteries but....

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yes, I'm a bit of a wimp these days when it comes to scary movies or books. I quit watching The Walking Dead ages ago, as I kept having to look away from the screen! (John Gray would be ashamed! haha!)

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  6. There was a time in my pre-teens and early teens when I loved ghost stories, but I'm not too keen on them now. Along iwth porcelain dolls, I find clowns really scary!

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    1. Me too!! We just watched the last season of American Horror Story ("Freakshow") and there was a homicidal clown named Twisty. He was scary!

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  7. I am not a fan of ghost stories. Thanks for the review. I just finished Moby Dick. Did you ever read that? A very interesting book that is not always what it seems.

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    1. Oh, yes, I've read Moby Dick. It's often assigned to high school students as required reading here in the States. I like it, and it's one of my husband's favorites.

      You should read Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. She takes a brief passage from Moby Dick and creates whole life story for the young woman Ahab married. It's wonderful!

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