Marc Shoemaker's Reviews > Collected Ghost Stories

Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in January, 1992

M.R. James can be difficult for the modern reader, but his stories are worth the effort for the atmosphere alone. "Whistle and I'll Come to you My Lad" is probably my favorite, and I'm far from alone. This creepy story involves old ruins, a found whistle with a strange inscription, and an unused bed that is suddenly no longer empty. "An Episode of Cathedral History" Is what a vampire story shoudl be. This one does not glitter. Stephen King once wrote that James' ghosts were harmless; I wonder if he'd forgotten "A Warning to the Curious", which concerns a guardian of sorts who is not to be trifled with.

There are many more stories involving hair-and-bones demons, a ghost whose appearance is signaled by the appearance of sawflies, a room that appears and disappears, a mezzotint that becomes an early moving picture, and many others. James remains my favorite horror author. His wordy, dense stories tell horrifying original tales that stick with you, sometimes invading your dreams.

Just a note: as this is not the edition I own, I can't guarantee that it features the same stories. My volume is the complete edition of James' ghost stories.
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