Evie's Reviews > 20th Century Ghosts

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
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's review
Mar 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: short-stories, favorites
Read from March 11 to 22, 2011

20th Century Ghosts is an anthology of short stories written by Joe Hill - his first works gathered together and published as a collection. I already read, enjoyed and reviewed his two other novels (Heart-Shaped Box and Horns), so when I reached for this book I more or less knew what to expect and I was very excited to find out if Joe Hill is as good at writing short stories, as he is at writing full length novels. And he is. He really is good.

In 20th Century Ghosts one can find all sorts of short stories. Not all of them are horror stories, by the by. You can find some fantasy stories here, some skillfully written supernatural as well as disquieting mainstream one. Each of them is a masterpiece of some sort. If I were to chose my favorite one of them, I honestly think I would spend the whole life deciding, they're all really amazing, captivating and breath-taking. Joe Hill managed to write really thrilling and unsettling stories without making them horrific or gruesome. As Christopher Golden said in his introduction to Joe Hill's book, "Most of those who practice the art of the unsettling far too often go for the jugular, forgetting that the best predators are stealthy." Well, it's hard not to agree with him, right? In this case however you don't have to worry about the jugular at all, Joe Hill has more than one trick in his bag, he knows exactly which strings to pull to make his readers scared, he's elegant and even tender in his writing, oh-so-very subtle, one stealthy predator indeed.

I was deeply impressed by Hill's writing style. The stories he tells are deep and engaging, they resonate deeply. His purpose is not only to scare his audience, but to give them the opportunity to actually feel the story, providing the emotional response necessary for the story to really be successful.
I enjoyed every word, for every word in this book had a meaning. There was no pointless blabbing, no long and useless description, not a single page was a waste of paper and ink.

Every story in this collection was like a strong punch in the jaw, delivered by highly trained fighter of words. By the end of the book I was totally knocked down, left gasping for air, wanting more..
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