Review – Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories

roald dahl Synopsis

Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he relates in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story," Dahl writes. "It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favourite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.


Short Stories (with my rating of 1 to 5 ★’s)

W.S. by L.P. Hartley
Writers of fiction must have some talent for creativity, but what happens when an author is too talented and inventive. ★★★★

Harry by Rosemary Timperley
Imaginary friends are common playmates for lonely children. Harry is a little bit different and a lot more rare – at least I hope so. ★★★★

The Corner Shop by Cynthia Asquith
In any town you are bound to come across at least one of those musty old antique shops. Have you ever wondered though, what else you may find besides bric-a-brac and hidden treasures. ★★★★★

In The Tube by E.F. Benson
Contemplations on time, space, responsibility and remorse take place between two friends sitting before a roaring fire. But there is an over-powering chill in their bones. ★★

Christmas Meeting by Rosemary Timperley
A lonely, older lady spending a solitary Christmas with nothing but memories for company, receives an unexpected visitor to share some tea. ★★

Elias and the Draug by Jonas Lie
Seamen have always found boats and oceans to be a welcoming home away from home, but for Elias, a dedicated sailor, the sea and what really lives there will become his worst nightmare. ★

Playmates by A.M. Burrage
Everton, an well-off older bachelor, takes on the care of an orphaned child. More as a social experiment to examine the development of children, than out of any feeling of compassion. But he quickly learns to care for his ward and her unusual playmates. ★★★★★

Ringing The Changes by Robert Aickman
A couple go on holiday to a seaside hotel, but they arrive to the sound of non-stop ringing of bells. And although they can smell the fresh sea air, it is nowhere to be found. ★★

The Telephone by Mary Treadgold
Being a second wife can be a difficult experience, but being the second wife to a widower presents a whole different set of problems. ★★★

The Ghost of a Hand by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Tile House is haunted by a ghostly hand, connected to a phantom that for some reason goes to elaborate measures to ensure he exposes nothing but his hand. ★★

The Sweeper by A.M. Burrage
Miss Ludgate is a very well-to-do lady in her eighties, who is a bit of a penny pincher. But when it comes to beggars and vagrants she is all too charitable. What is the reason for her strange behaviour and why does the changing of the leaves in Autumn cause her such upset. ★★★★

Afterward by Edith Wharton
For the married couple who move into a haunted house, there is some disappointment that their ghost is said to only becomes apparent afterward. ★★

On The Brighton Road by Richard Middleton
A homeless traveller meets up with another, younger, but more seasoned nomad who after falling ill assures the man that he will meet him again. But the traveller does not expect to see him again on Brighton Road. ★★

The Upper Berth by Marion Crawford
When travelling it is sometimes a fact that you may have to share a cabin with a stranger, but the man in the upper berth of room 105 is just a bit stranger than most. ★★

About The Author

Kids and adults alike love Roald Dahl's deliciously wicked books. Loved for their gleefully evil villains and their often mischievous sensibility, Dahl's books introduce us to fantastic creatures and bizarre places -- and encourage our imaginations to run wild.

Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Jeane said...

I didn't know Dahl wrote ghost stories, though I should have figured. I remember reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in grade school, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, but not much else.

naida said...

this sounds great. I like how you reviewed the stories. I'm currently reading Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts, which is a collection of short stories too. And was wondering how to best review the book. I like your method.

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