THE SURLY SULLEN BELL by Russell Kirk

THE SURLY SULLEN BELL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Along with a brief defence of the art of writing ghost stories, this is an illustrated collection of a number of stories with varied backgrounds (decaying cities, old castles, neglected farms) and the style is old-fashioned, straightforward story telling. Yet there is perhaps too much commonsense reality in these tales for them to be truly terrifying. In the first story, one of the stronger ones, a man finds the girl he once loved the slow poison victim of her husband but is unable to save her. In the several ghost stories, the ghosts generally work for the good to defeat the modern evils of city planners, hoodlums or census takers. In the stories about Mr. Kirk's own really desolate Michigan back country, his concept of ghosts becomes plainer still. Based often on real eccentrics, they represent all that is old, untamed and unnatural in human nature and they return both to torment and to taunt men too civilized to believe in dark powers. This concept, while sound, does not represent the truly supernatural and Mr. Kirk's feelings about ghosts tend to be stronger than the ghosts themselves.

Publisher: Fleet