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Haunted House Fiction: The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

October 15, 2017

Avid readers love to stumble across a real gem of a book for reading several times over.

One of my favorite books of all time, The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton is a wonderful collection of just the kind of ghost stories I like—no gore and lots of shadowy, filmy things that we’re not quite sure we’ve seen.  One of the key elements of a ghost story is the ability to unsettle the reader somewhat, to create an anxious tension that takes us at least through the end of the story, often far beyond.  Many people attest to being affected “for some several days” after having read a good ghost story. 

Pertinent to our interest in searching out haunted houses, or even places, I recommend “The Lady’s Maid’s Bell” and “Kerfol,” a delicious story about an old estate haunted by, of all things, dogs.  For dog lovers, it’s a bittersweet tale with a few good surprises.  The rest of the book is only to be missed if left unread—you will have, of course, a few favorite stories from this collection, but I doubt that you will find any of them uninteresting or lacking in suspense. 

The book contains a terrific introduction, replete with a catalog of other volumes and stories and authors for the ghost story enthusiast, and an Autobiographical Postscript by the author explaining her “relationship” to ghostly tales.

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