Belinda's Reviews > 20th Century Ghosts

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Nov 30, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: shorts, kindle, spooky
Read in December, 2008

Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of short fiction, and possibly predisposed to review it more kindly than others might. Still, I ripped right through this collection, going from one story to the next with enthusiasm. And, interestingly, for me, the stories seemed to get better and better as they went along. The stand-outs for me were all toward the end: "My Father's Mask" and "Voluntary Committal." I also had a very soft spot in my heart for "Pop Art," and of course thrilled at "Abraham's Boys," since it was a continuation of the story of Abraham Van Helsing, and I'm a sucker for Dracula lore.

Though I haven't seen anyone describe it as such, one story, "You Will Hear The Locust Sing," seems to me to be something of a loving, slightly tongue-in-cheek tribute to Kafka. I mean, the protagonist's name is "Francis Kay," and the opening line is, "Francis Kay woke from dreams that were not uneasy, but exultant, and found himself an insect." What else could this be but a fun little exercise along the lines of, "Hey, you know what would've happened if *I* wrote The Metamorphosis?"

"Better Than Home" choked me up a little with its final lines, and was the story which most reminded me of Hill's literary legacy--after all, Stephen King has written of father/son relationships in the framework of baseball, too.

"The Black Phone" is a good old-fashioned horror/suspense short, something that would be right at home in an issue of that old Alfred Hitchcock magazine, or as an episode of one of the old horror/suspense shows like "Tales From The Darkside." Short, simple, clean, and satisfying.

If you like short stories, you could do a whole lot worse than this collection.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read 20th Century Ghosts.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Annette I really have to stop reading your reviews!! I have so many books to read now that I don't know if I'll ever get through them!!! I'm headed over to Amazon to download this one now :)

Belinda Oh, then I hope you like it! I'm such a fan of short fiction, especially with new writers, that I wonder if I treat it a bit too generously. You'll have to let me know what you think! I have the 2007 Best American Short Stories collection here with me at the hospital today, as well as Jim Shepard's collection, Like You'd Understand Anyway.

back to top