Review by Nina Dinan, 17
The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton By Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton, renowned Gilded Age novelist and interior designer, was sometimes so disturbed by ghostly books that she was compelled to burned them. Luckily, this profound fear did not stop her from lending her own pen to the genre, and the result is a timeless collection of eerie tales. In “The Triumph of Night”, a young traveler is stranded at a deserted railway station on a frigid winter’s night. When a wealthy, vivacious youth drives up and offers the traveler a room for the night, all is not as well as it seems. In “The Eyes”, a worldly intellectual is menaced by a nocturnal entity as he tries to resolve his complex feelings for a younger man. In a third tale, a recently married woman embarks on a train journey which grows increasingly ominous with each passing hour.
Wharton’s ghost stories provoke dread in all seasons, and especially on autumn and winter nights. The narratives move with mounting suspense from one scene to the next, whisking us off to intimate fireside gatherings, vicious New England snowstorms, opulent Italian gardens, and forbidding manor houses. The ghosts themselves come in many forms; some enter with a thunderclap, while others reach slowly around the curtain (so to speak) and leap out at us at the end. (If you like short, horror-driven ghost stories, then these might not be your style; they do reach chilling, satisfying endings, but some of them take many pages to get there.) Now, with the dark season approaching, I hope I’ve put you all “in the mood for ghosts…”
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