GHOST STORY by Julian F. Thompson


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Thompson (The Trials of Molly Sheldon, 1995, etc.) shoehorns a novel-sized cast into a short story's worth of plot in this wry tale of a teenager, a pornographer, and a ghost. Anna isn't unhappy that her parents have chosen to move away from a New York suburb to be innkeepers in a small Vermont town, but she is lonely--until the ghost of Roxy Cray, a serving gift who died of a botched abortion in 1818, appears. Their relationship is an unusual one from the beginning; Roxy, who can be solid or invisible at will, helps Anna with housekeeping chores while Anna, after giving her new friend clothes and a makeover, calmly decides that it doesn't matter whether she's imaginary or not. It starts to matter only when Tony, a photographer, after glibly convincing Anna to take off her clothes for some shots, is pushed from a cliff. A witness says that Anna did it. All Anna remembers is hearing him shout as she hid behind a rock. Was it Roxy, or is Anna editing her memory? Thompson adopts a casual, chatty tone that robs the uglier revelations of much of their shock value, and Anna seems far too gullible, but the ghost, a bevy of unconventional guests, and a budding romance in a subplot will keep readers awake. Light fare, with some cautionary undercurrents.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
Page count: 214pp
Publisher: Henry Holt