Nightmare and Nostalgia: Fifteen Wicked Little Ghost Stories by Joan Carol Bird

Nightmare and Nostalgia: Fifteen Wicked Little Ghost Stories

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An eerie, debut assortment of short stories that explores the tenuous link between the land of the living and that of the dead.

These 15 short stories take place in Great Britain, Peru and the United States, many in Arizona. Despite the differences in setting and plot details, each story examines encounters between the living and the dead. Due to the similarities between the stories, the element of surprise dissipates early in the collection. In some stories, protagonists are not aware that they’ve died; in others, the living experience a haunting or otherworldly incident. In the second story, “Dreamscape,” the narrator clings to life while visiting places with his deceased wife, Nell, and others who have predeceased him; stubbornly refusing to die, he at last experiences the relief of letting go. Some of the stories, “Your Call” and “Memories on Main” in particular, offer extensive back story with a rather abrupt resolution or, in the case of “Your Call,” a haunting consisting only of a missed call from a dead loved one. However, the tales are nonetheless enjoyable since Bird writes so skillfully. She has compiled a delightful collection of ghost stories, most of which are only slightly scary or, more likely, thought-provoking. Perhaps most disturbing is “A Subtle Something Extra,” the story of Franny, a 12-year-old girl who haunts her father’s seasonal haunted house. None achieves extreme heights of creepy bizarreness, and most of the stories aren’t gory. You could share this collection with your grandmother; however, in the spirit of these stories, her corporeal presence may not be an indicator of life.

A provocative short story collection that may leave readers re-evaluating their understandings of the afterlife.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1492847601
Page count: 238pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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