HAPHAZARD HOUSE by Mary Wesley

HAPHAZARD HOUSE

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Past and future tangle in a mare's-nest around a modern British family in this wry, complex ghost story from Wesley, a well-known author of adult books (A Dubious Legacy, 1992, etc.). Nothing if not impulsive, painter Andrew Fuller bets heavily on a 50-to-1 shot that wins the Derby, then moves family--plus an entourage of pets and acquaintances--to a half-burnt country house that his daughter Lisa picks out of an old magazine ad. Except for one peculiar couple, the local town is deserted; the house is haunted by a spectral figure that beckons cheerily from a window that isn't there and keeps the Fullers supplied with fresh produce; and time becomes strange--``It's not steady [here],'' Lisa nervously avers. Spooked both literally and figuratively, she watches her mother and grandfather grow younger while the outside world becomes less and less real; eventually, everyone joins in a joyous, timeless dance and Lisa, suddenly adult, meets the no- longer-ghostly ghost and realizes that she already knows and loves him. Though the family dynamics and conversation often recall the slapstick Bagthorpes, Wesley's story has an eerie flavor--a strong feeling of ``things-are-not-as-they-seem-and-much-of-this-has- happened-before''; at the end, when Lisa asks, ``Shall I wake up? Shall I forget?'', the ghost replies, ``Not this time. Dance, Lisa. I have waited so long for you.'' Haunting--in several senses. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87951-470-1
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993