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The Beckoning Fair One

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The Beckoning Fair One is sometimes called the greatest ghost story in the English language; it may well be. Certainly it is one of the questest and most beautiful supernatural tales ever written. It reminds the reader of Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" -- and that is huge praise indeed. The story tells of British novelist Paul Oleron, who lives restlessly i ...more
Paperback, 92 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Wildside Press (first published 1911)
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(showing 1-30)
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Althea Ann
Nov 06, 2015 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What really makes this story is how what's terrifying about the ghost is how its influence affects the mind and moods of the characters... Over and above shadows and bumps in the night, it's the depression and despair that accompany its presence.

A writer rents out a suite in a decrepit and long-empty home. Sinking his savings into renovations, he's eager to show the apartment off to his lady-friend, whom he anticipates will be delighted by what he's done with the old place. However, her reaction
Johnny Waco
Dec 29, 2008 Johnny Waco rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This 1911 ghost story is an impressive example of suggestion and atmosphere, as a struggling novelist, Paul Oleron, rents a floor of a dilapidated house and is slowly seduced by something ghostly. Onions unfolds the story languidly, beginning with incidents that could just as easily be Oleron's imagination as a supernatural presence: an ancient melody he can't stop humming, a visitor scratched by a nail he swore he removed. Uncovering the hidden, nailed-down window boxes gives us our first clue ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly Cagney
Aug 21, 2012 Holly Cagney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this novella because of a painting I own. It was given to me by my father, and it previosly belonged to my great-grandmother. She'd been given this strange painting of a woman by an artist friend, and on the back it has the title The Beckoning Fair One. I wanted to find out more about the painting so I Googled it and found this story. It's quite an intriguing read, full of suspense that kept me up half the night wanting to see how it ended.
Mar 20, 2013 Sirensongs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems as if there is somewhat of a gap in my experience of ghost stories if it has taken me this long to finally read this classic by Oliver Onions. Better late than never, however, and I must say it is one of the finest spectral tales that I have ever read! It contained all the elements that I find most enticing in a ghost stories: a tortured artist, obsession, madness, unrequited love and passion, the subtlest hints of lust, ambiguity... I truly found this to be a masterpiece of this partic ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Latasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I listened to a Librivox recording for this story. the reader did very well. the story started out so slow. i didn't think it picked up until desperate friend started getting hurt then it slowed back down. overall it was ok. it could have been A LOT shorter, though.
Sep 09, 2010 JoAnn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Odd, yet compelling.
Julie Davis
Oct 04, 2012 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I never reviewed this novella. I read it on Forgotten Classics in three parts as it is rather long.

We will be discussing it on SFFaudio where Jesse very kindly put all the pieces together into one complete audiobook for those who want to listen before hearing our discussion.

Many people complain of this being a slow, meandering tale but I found this explained by the author's own forward which explains his approach to the ghost story. These are just a few snippets but I hope they c
Michael Adams
Well written short horror / ghost story. Follows the final days of a frustrated novelist and his unrequited love to a rather grim and ambiguous ending. The troubles begin upon moving into new lodgings, a dilapidated old house, one with a curious, haunted, or even accursed history. As with many such tales, events begin playing out in a cyclical manner, history repeating itself, and we are led inexorably to a murky and dark conclusion. A few tricks with an unreliable narrator are played, leaving u ...more
Shawn Birss
This classic novella of eery horror brings to mind The Shining. A writer is driven to madness as his wits, his passions, and his inspiration are replaced by dark, supernatural evils within the building that is his new home. The narration expertly carries us through various states of our protagonist's fear and folly, changing in tone and clarity to match the waxing and waning of the character's own lucidity. The largest complaint I have of the book is that I found it too long. It is a novella, wh ...more
Jonas Wilmann
Feb 16, 2013 Jonas Wilmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very alternative ghost story that may serve as a sort of precautionary tale for those who delve TOO deeply into the darkest recesses of their creativity. While reading, one wonders if the so called 'haunted' apartment author Paul Oleron moves into, is not in fact haunted by himself ... A spinechilling meta-story thematically exploring the 'gift of writing' as an unbearable curse.
Laura Garner
Aug 19, 2013 Laura Garner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite ghost story of all time. Subtle yet terrifying, in a Victorian way. And the idea of a man (or woman) preferring some romanticized, probably non-existent ideal over a real, solid, flawed woman (or man) ... I'd call that a timeless theme.
It's a 3.5 stars read, I like the writing and the characters, but the very, very faint ending is a bit of a letdown.
Suzy Nash
Dec 16, 2010 Suzy Nash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps the scariest haunted house story I have ever read.
Feb 03, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really an unnerving, very effective ghost story. I loved this.
Dec 05, 2016 X rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I thought about the ending, but the rest of the book was well written and original.
Nov 13, 2015 Ash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly intriguing, although I did have problems trudging through the some what bloated middle. I forced myself to continue because I was curious whether the "beckoner" would finally appear, and whether Oleron would die.
I know it is meant to leave the mystery of whether he just had a break down or whether there actually was a presence. But based on the few details related in the story, I believe she was a succubus/demon instead of a ghost. The author also made several refrences to the letter
Oct 27, 2010 Sylvester rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, classic
Onions does an excellent job of leading us readers into the twilight zone. Especially liked the part in which Oleron becomes ultra-aware of the minutest sounds going on in the house, and begins to realize that the house is like a mirror-being of himself. Deliciously creepy. In my opinion he could have gone farther with it than he did, but it was good nonetheless. One of those books that is so obviously the basis for this entire genre of horror\ghost\gothic. (The book I really want to read of Oni ...more
Greg Kerestan
Aug 05, 2016 Greg Kerestan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a writer who sometimes struggles with procrastination, this one hit a little too close to home. Onions's novella of a struggling author who gradually becomes possessed either by his own madness or by the vampiric spirit of his new apartment is a slow burner, but that delicate ambiguity of madness versus supernatural intervention lends it an aura of menace that makes a genuine frisson of the last two chapters.
Jeff Miller
This novella is a pretty decent Ghost story written in 1911 that is really quite good and includes elements more common today in horror stories - though not gore wise.

A writer buys a house to finish his book and his personality starts to change as the house influences him and tries to get rid of others.

What a name Oliver Onions is and not surprisingly it is not a pseudonym.
Jennifer Kelly
Dec 04, 2015 Jennifer Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this novella but it sounded interesting when I found it on glad I found it. The atmosphere of doom and impending madness was brilliant. Creepy as hell! What a classic that needs reviving.
Trish Graboske
Nov 01, 2015 Trish Graboske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best kind of ghost story, in which you are never sure whether the ghost is real or not. It absolutely could be real, but alternatively, It might just be in the susceptible novelist's mind.
Mark McLaughlin
Jan 06, 2013 Mark McLaughlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Onions was a great writer of the supernatural. His ghost stories are perfectly crafted and profound.
Feb 03, 2012 Debra marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King recommended story "The Beckoning Fair One" in his "Forenote to the Paperback Edition" from King's Berkley's 1983 edition of Danse Macabre (revised).
Allison rated it liked it
Oct 11, 2011
Anne rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2016
Emily Harrison
Emily Harrison rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2016
Larry rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2010
Darren rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2012
Peter M. Doedens
Peter M. Doedens rated it it was amazing
Sep 11, 2016
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Oliver Onions was born in Bradford in 1873. Although he legally changed his name to George Oliver in 1918, he always published under the name Oliver Onions. Onions originally worked as a commercial artist before turning to writing, and the dust jackets of his earliest works included illustrations painted by Onions himself.

Onions was a prolific writer of short stories and novels and is best remembe
More about Oliver Onions...

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