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The Long Retreating Day: Tales of Twilight and Borderlands Hardcover – Special Limited Edition, 2 Feb 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 205 pages
  • Publisher: The Tartarus Press; 1st edition (2 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1872621961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1872621968
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,016,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

"The Long Retreating Day" features ten ghost stories.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
John Gaskin's latest collection of stories follows on from the critically acclaimed collection, The Dark Companion published in 2001. Subtitled, Tales of Twilight and Borderlands it is a rich and diverse collection of weird tales.

Every mention of John Gaskin's work seems to also reference M.R. James and it's easy to see why. These are stories which are timeless, they evoke feelings of 19th or early 20th century fiction. This is a world of shooting estates, railways and academics placing bets over the existence of spirits in a church. Yet they also contain mobile phones, the trains are electric or diesel and even the internet is invoked, but it is the subject matter which remains in some temporal stasis. The Twilight and Borderlands of the subtitle are the twilights between life and death, old ways and new ways, the borderlands are those places which are strongly imbued with emotions to the extent that supernatural encounters or events occur, places at the edge.

So it's clear that Gaskin is writing within the classic ghost story tradition but these are not pastiches or an attempt by an author to try to impersonate a style, John Gaskin is the living breathing successor to the likes of M.R. James. In some distant future the compression of time will see him described as one of the great Ghost story writers, James, Blackwood and Gaskin will be discussed as a collective.

Topped and tailed by emotionally charged selections of poetry the stories are universally excellent. The Conceit Of The Dancing Man is perhaps the strongest nod to M.R James but this is followed by Tapiola, for me a direct successor to Blackwood's The Willows with its richly drawn landscapes and strange ethereal feel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of M R James I am always attracted to any writer who is described as 'Jamesian', and in this Mr Gaskin does not disappoint; in fact, in some of these tales he is more 'Jamesian' than MRJ himself! However, his tales are strongest and most satisfying when he finds his own voice. The stand out story for me was the title story, which actually is the least 'supernatural' of the tales but which resonates long after the reader has finished it. Other tales are a little too bogged down with the author's erudition, which slows down the story. But all in all, if you like intelligently written supernatural tales in the classic mould, then this collection is for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Why a writer as talented at creating atmosphere as Gaskin is so little known remains a mystery. His lack of a mainstream publisher must be at least partly to blame. I see he has a novel due out shortly - a little over 200 pages at the hideous price of £30. But for writing of this quality, I think I'll just have to grit my teeth and pay...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderfully understated collection of stories that tap into the universal sense of unease and dread that certain confluences of time, place and people can generate. Of special interest to me was the story " The Conceit Of The Dancing Man". I am sure that the setting for this story is based on Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland. In fact in the early/mid 90'sI lived in one of the "hideously stuccoed cottages" mentioned in the story. This brought back a lot of memories of my time there, including late night walks to the priory.
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