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A few words i found by Stephen King about this novel Probably Ghost Story by Peter Straub is the best of the supernatural novels to be published in the wake of the three books that kicked off a new horror wave in the seventies those three, of course, being Rosemary s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Other The fact that these three books, all published within five years of each other, enjoyed such wide popularity, helped to convince or reconvince publishers that horror fiction had a commercial potential much wider than the readership of such defunct magazines as Weird Tales and Unknown or the paperback reissues of Arkham House books This was a real haunting good read, the story drives you crazy in places with characters perceptions of reality being played with by the supernatural.This is my first Straub novel and he writes a plot well and makes you feel you are there amidst the snow filled town slowly falling apart day by day.The story paces well and does not let down, the tale was reminiscent of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.The review is 2read also with a video2watch interview with Peter Straub. [[ EPUB ]] ⇰ Ghost Story ⇨ New York Times Bestselling Author Peter Straub S Classic Tale Of Horror, Secrets, And The Dangerous Ghosts Of The Past What Was The Worst Thing You Ve Ever Done In The Sleepy Town Of Milburn, New York, Four Old Men Gather To Tell Each Other Stories Some True, Some Made Up, All Of Them Frightening A Simple Pastime To Divert Themselves From Their Quiet LivesBut One Story Is Coming Back To Haunt Them And Their Small Town A Tale Of Something They Did Long Ago A Wicked Mistake A Horrifying Accident And They Are About To Learn That No One Can Bury The Past Forever An intelligent and ambitious novel, Ghost Story has received some well deserved acclaim That is, however, not enough Not even close This is a book that should be re introduced to a whole new generation of readers It really is that good Stephen King himself lists it as one of the best horror novels of the 20th century refer Danse Macabre.I will not go into plot details at this stage, since these can be had by reading the book synopsis Instead, in general terms, I ll try and explain just why this book should be on the reading list of any self respecting horror fan.First of all, this is not a novel that offers up cheap thrills and quick scares The terror, sometimes expected, often unexpected, is measured out in precise and exact quantities Lovingly so Mister Straub has managed to weave into Ghost Story an absolutely breathless sense of inevitability and futility It still remains one of the most atmospheric dark tales I ve read.Secondly, it is a pretty complicated story dense and epic It s a story about terrible things that happen to people and the secret lives people lead The cast is also fairly big Think you know what s going on around here Think again.Lastly, Peter Straub is arguably one of the best wordsmiths out there He can write.Comparisons with Stephen King s Salem s Lot are inevitable the small town setting the terror that comes to town I read the two novels almost back to back and will be hard pressed to pick a personal favourite, although the antagonist in Straub s book is much complicated In both novels, a great amount of time is spent on creating breathing, flesh and blood, characters This, of course, makes the terror palpable when it comes And does it come Often subtle, the Horror element takes on interesting shapes in Mister Straub s capable hands Things aren t quite what they seem, and isn t it marvellous Looking for a thrilling read that will ever so slowly freeze your blood without attempting to shock with gratuitous gore and schlock tactics Then line up, Dr Rabbitfoot has your medicine right here What was the worst thing you ve ever done I won t tell you that, but I ll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me..the most dreadful thingThat s how Peter Straub s GHOST STORY begins..Something s going to happen to the whole town of Milburn, and The Chowder Society members with their spooky stories and premonitions are right in the middle ofit..For Ricky Hawthorne, his law partner Sears James and friends Edward Wanderley, Lewis Benedikt and Dr John Jaffrey, their nightmares all began on the same day, October of 1929.and what happened on that day was the beginning of the evil presence..Not the scariest book I ve ever read,we all have our own definition of scarybut a darn good GHOST STORY I am SO glad that I finally re read this book I was afraid that it wouldn t hold up to my memory of it I worried about that for decades Silly me I needn t have worried it was even better than I remembered This beautifully written story of evil in a small town has a lot in common with Stephen King s IT as far as the small town portion goes Derry and Milburn are similar in a lot of ways Despite the title, this book isn t really a ghost story Just like in IT, IT isn t really a clown Ghost Story is about a small group of men who made a mistake in their youth and rather than face up to it, they went about hiding it instead This leads to consequences none of them could have possibly foreseen But WE can see those consequences, and unfortunately, they are often deadly GHOST STORY was my favorite novel for many years mostly because of the intricacy of it The stories of these men, the stories about the relatives of these men, and the stories about the town itself, wind around and through each other to me it s like a beautifully woven tapestry of art I have to think that the author had it all planned out from the very beginning, otherwise how could it have been so wonderfully done This book isn t for everyone, and I get that It wasn t even for me at one time, it took me three tries to get into it back in the day For those people that it DOES work for They will sit back when they re done, just like I did, and marvel at the skill on display here My highest recommendation I ve purchased this book 3 times so far, my original copy was lost , then I bought a paperback copy, but the print was too small, so I purchased a Kindle copy I d buy it again, if I had to BAIT AND SWITCHPeter Straub s classic bestseller is a work of superb horror The Washington Post Book World that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time and conjures our darkest fears and nightmaresOh, this book was conjuring my worst fears alright Just not in the way that was probably intended I m quitting you, book You know why Because you re fucking boring Because I dread picking you back up Because you re not in the least bit scary to me, if you don t count the horror and dread I have of actually contemplating trudging along to the finish line with you By all accounts, the second half is where all the awesome happens I just bet I slogged along to almost the halfway point, through weirdness and references I feel like I should know but don t because they haven t been explained yet and tedious tedious irrelevant detail and 260 pages of nothing has actually happenened yet except for some boring old farts dyingOH THE HORROR and now I m done I ve given almost an entire month to this book The only thing it s given me back was confirmation that Straub s books just aren t for me Shame. This copy of Ghost Story is signed by Peter Straub. First and foremost, I would like to thank Jessica Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile for this awesome addition to my collection Back in 1995, my family and my fifteen year old self moved from California to Alabama The week we arrived in Alabama Mobile area Hurricane Opal decided to make landfall Most of our stuff was still on the back of my brother in law s flatbed trailer The most important items lost for me, at least was my mother s book collection Whilst in California, Mom called her master bedroom s walk in The Great Book Closet This grand space was stocked with than 450 first editions of some of the best horror literature ever written These books were gifts from friends, family, and co workers, but mostly they came from one person in particular my mother s best friend Andrita Sadly, all the books Andrita ever bought my mother were lost to water damage Not only was my mother 2,000 miles away from her lifelong friend but she d also lost most of the collection Andrita helped her build 22 books survived, but Ghost Story was not one of them Freakishly enough, I would lose those final 22 books another 9 years later when Hurricane Ivan came through Montgomery, Alabama and flooded my storage shed To date, I have replaced all 450 books my mother kept record of all her gifts and purchases, and I ve been working off the contents in her ledger for the past ten years aside from three With Jessica s gift, I only need to replace two Thank you so much, Jessica So there s your E History Lesson of the Day After receiving Jessica s gift, I decided to reread Ghost Story so that I might give it a proper review Here is that review For this reread I chose the audiobook narrated by Buck Schirner All too often, literary horror is read in a cheesy, over the top fashion These narrators seemingly want to be Vincent Price, but only Price could pull of Price without sounding like a bit of rejected B movie voiceover Buck Schirner is damn good at what he does His performance is highly recommended If you dig earhole stimuli, stimulate your earholes with this audiobook Now for the book itself Ghost Story is one of the greatest literary horror novels ever written The prose is gorgeous and the writing flows The characters are varied and exquisitely drawn, believable and nearly tangible The horror is achieved through mounting dread and rarely relies on gore to disturb, leaning toward creatures with twinkling yellow eyes slowly climbing the stairs toward their victims, or a creepy child staring through a window I ve always found subtle horror far scarier than violence and gore Moreover, it s what I don t see that truly frightens me, as my imagination is terrifying than anything another author could imagine This is the essence of Ghost Story This is where the novel succeeds the most The subject matter is insidious It burrows Digs Nests I will admit, however, that Ghost Story is a chore to get into It s the epitome of a slow burn You will be tempted to put the book down, but I beg of you, push through the tedious opening chapters Everything makes pays off by the end, and every word is needed I don t know many horror novels of this length of which the same can be said In summation Ghost Story is a novel better read if you know nothing about it It s a bit of terror that worms into you and takes roots One of the truly nightmare inducing additions to horror literature If you re a fan of the genre, do yourself a favor and read this book Tell Gregory Bates that E sent ya Final Judgment Best read while snowed in. SF F H , the holy trinity of genre fiction, my neck of the woods for reading I read a hell of a lot of sci fi SF , I read about a couple of fantasy F titles a year, but I ve been neglecting the horror fiction H genre in recent years The reason is that besides Stephen King I don t tend to hear much about exciting new horror titles Sci fi and fantasy books win the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards and I am always aware of the winners As far as I know the equivalent award for horror fiction is the Stoker Award and somehow people don t seem to talk about them very much Anyway, to cut a long story short I miss reading horror fiction and want to get back to it Ghost Story is Peter Straub s best known and most popular book, I remember reading it in my teens when it was on the bestsellers list, I remember liking it but for the life of me cannot remember any of the details Having just reread it this is not so surprising as this is quite a complex story and the title is somewhat misleading The book is divided into several parts with a nonlinear timeline It starts off intriguingly with a 24 pages prologue about a man who has kidnapped a strange little girl, but the kidnapper is afraid of the kidnappee than the other way around The girl seems to take it all in stride and may, in fact, not be a girl at all After this prologue the story goes back to a few years earlier where a group of for elderly gentlemen meet on a regular basis to share ghost stories which may or may not be true They call themselves The Chowder Society , apparently there is some kind of therapeutic value for them in telling these stories there has been an undertone of fear in this little club since one of their members died under mysterious circumstances at a party while in the company of an actress who disappeared.The next part of the book tells the story of Donald Wanderley, the child kidnapper from the prologue He is a nephew of the dead club member of the Chowder Society and an author of a horror novel.After publication of his book he took a temporary job teaching at Berkeley, there he meets and falls madly in love with a mysterious beautiful girl They get on famously, make wedding plans and one day she just disappears next thing he knows she meets his brother David in another town, they fall in love and soon David dies under mysterious circumstances The girl disappears again Ghost Story is not a whodunit, but it is not really about ghosts though a few do show up The story is quite a complex but not at all hard to follow A creepy atmosphere pervades the entire book and the reader what is going on with the disappearing girls and the dead people they leave behind It is meticulously written by Straub The supernatural element often has a hallucinogenic feel to it and the climax is quite rousing The characters are well drawn but not particularly memorable I find that Straub s storytelling is not as taut as it could be and the pacing drags a little in the earlier parts of the book too many scenes of the old gents pottering around grumbling His brand of horror is subtle and often psychological, there is very little in the gore department.If you are looking for an elegantly written, unusual and complex horror story this is for you, but how many people are looking for such a thing If you are reading this in October this would be a great Haloween read. When I was a kid, I had a long list of fears A short summary would include tornadoes big dogs bullies the basement fire music class swimming lessons spiders cat burglars and girls As I got a bit older, say around middle school and high school, that list changed Some items remained girls, the possibility of being forced to sing in public , some fell away tornadoes, big dogs, swimming , and some new fears were added school dances, acne, various other complex social interactions Now, as an adult, the list has changed entirely I don t fear the weather, or the water, or women though I still do not understand them And I m not afraid of the many, many things that the local and national news tells us to fear I m not scared of airplane crashes, murderers, or terrorist attacks This is not because I am brave, which I am certainly not, or because I am idiot, which is debatable rather, my limited understanding of probabilities allows me to rest assured that I am far likelier to die in a car crash because I am texting, than I am to plummet earthward in a Boeing 747, and that the mounting nights of pizza and hard drinking are lethal to my person than a sociopathic killer just escaped from the county asylum on a dark and stormy night.The simple fact is that for most of us, all the terrorists and all the murderers and all the faultily constructed planes in all the world are not nearly as likely to hurt us than uncontrolled cell growth within our own bodies Sure, I get a little jittery when my plane hits turbulence and yes, I sneak around my own house with a baseball bat every time I hear a bump in the night But truthfully, the only thing that really scares me is cancer That kind of fear, though, based solidly in statistical reality, is almost too much to bear It s impossible to live your life constantly thinking about that possibility, that probability, lingering up ahead in the future We need distractions So we distract ourselves with other fears Not just terrorists, airplanes, and killers, but sex offenders and immigrants and razor studded apples on Halloween and China s emergence as an economic powerhouse This is not to say that these fears are baseless well, the fear of immigrants and China are , but we re talking about probabilities Can these things be dangerous Yes Are they statistically likely to be dangerous to you No These fears, though, play an important psychological role by diverting our attention And this is not a new phenomenon Human beings have always been scaring each other I venture that Neanderthals in their caves would gather round the fire and swap stories about a legendary wooly mammoth with a taste for blood, even though they were likely to die from an infection caused by scraping a knee on a rock Peter Straub s Ghost Story plays with this idea of spook stories At its center are four old men Lewis Benedikt, Sears James, Frederick Hawthorne and John Jaffrey who have a haunted past in order to cope with this past, they get together and tell ghost stories to each other Scaring each other becomes cathartic I could go on with the plot, I suppose, but one of the pleasures or frustrations, depending on your nature of this book is how you gain understanding gradually, as the story unfolds For instance, the novel opens with a brief prologue in which a man we do not know has apparently kidnapped a child we do not know These scenes won t pay off for many hundreds of pages, and to say anything ventures into spoiler territory Besides, the plot is relatively dense, and if I tried to explain it, I d probably get it wrong anyway Suffice it to say, the thing or things that is haunting our four main characters has returned to the small town of Milburn, New York And it didn t come for the maple syrup festival I ll leave it to you to discover the rest What I appreciated about Ghost Story was that it understood the nature of fear Fear is that moment when you think something is about to happen it is that part in a horror movie when the main character is about to open the closet door, and you, the viewer, start to duck your head beneath the blanket When something finally jumps out of the closet, and the main character starts running, and you scream and spill popcorn, that s not fear That is the release of tension The reason I always liked the first Friday the 13th film is because it recognized this distinction The whole movie was people being watched and stalked by something faceless and nameless and left to our imaginations There is very little running through the woods, which is good, because chase scenes aren t scary In the 7,000 sequels that followed, the distinction was lost the killer was known, was given shape and form, and all that was left was to run The most elegant metaphor I can think of to explain this is lovemaking Please, bear with me A good ghost story like Ghost Story is like that Spanish or Italian lover with the sensitive eyes and velvety voice, the one who drank wine from your navel and has nothing but time to devote to all manner of foreplay This Spanish or Italian will taunt and tickle and tease and sing you a lilting love song in Spanish or Italian that you can t understand before finally bringing you to that place you want to go A bad ghost story is like a drunk high school student pawing at you in the backseat of a Honda Civic, concerned only with the end release Oh, I m sorry Did I say the most elegant metaphor Because I meant to say crass and vaguely disturbing Ghost Story takes its time reaching the climax, and this is a good thing As long as things are still a bit unclear, as long as you can t quite see around the next corner, the novel retains tension I m not saying it will scare you It won t make you scream aloud, for the simple reason that, unlike a movie, you can look away at any time and stop the action However, there are parts that will give you the creeps and there will be parts where your eyes will try to cheat by skipping ahead and there is a chance, if you read this before bed and take a slug of Nyquill, you will have odd nightmares What I liked about Ghost Story, other than the fact it was like a Spanish or Italian lover, is that it made a real attempt to stay grounded in reality Obviously, when you are dealing with ghosts, there is a paranormal or supernatural element involved The things tilt towards those elements, the less scared I become, for the simple fact that I can no longer relate to the world being described To that end, Peter Straub makes an enormous effort to give his characters backgrounds and back stories and meaningful traits He grounds the most fantastical elements by devoting equal time to the human element I m not saying that he achieves supreme psychological depth with each person, but he certainly surmounts the confines of his genre and goes far beyond you might expect in a book titled Ghost Story One of my favorite aspects of Ghost Story is its sense of place Straub spends a lot of time making the hamlet of Milburn into a character You get to know its layout, its history, its local hangouts, and you meet dozens and dozens of its denizens Indeed, you meet so many, you might want to keep a list this will come in handy when attempting to recall who is sleeping with who, and who just died Ghost Story is horror with a literary bent Sure, there are some lines of dialogue that land with all the grace of me dropping War and Peace on my toe But that s to be expected For the most part, the level of the writing defies the primitiveness of its subject You see this not only in the care taken with the characters both main and supporting , but with the story s complex structure, which involves numerous flashbacks and stories within stories Of course, as with any ghost story, there has to be a Boo moment At some point, the mysteries start to resolve themselves, the enemy takes shape, and our heroes must find a way to kill it I ll admit, my attention started to wane towards the end, once the explanatory dialogue started flying and there is a lot of explaining to do Eventually, there is a final battle between good and evil, human and not human, and it is suitably over the top and gory, for those that expect that sort of thing, and when the dust settles all the puzzle pieces come together to form a whole It satisfies, I suppose, but is not nearly as interesting as the long, detailed, creepy road that led to that point.