- Paperback: 720 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; Mystery & Supernatural edition (8 Jun. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1840226854
- ISBN-13: 978-1840226850
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.8 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Night Terrors: The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) Paperback – 8 Jun 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Like many so-called "Ghost Story" Collections, this is a little misleading. What we have here is a bumper collection of tales from an assured and skillful write which could be best filed under "Weird Fiction". Vampires, ghosts, satanists, mad scientists, the returning dead, seances, creepy wicker-mannish hares and "local shop" weirdness - you name it, its in here. Benson seems to be the hub in the weird fiction wheel touching on subjects dear to writers as diverse as Arthur Machen, HP Lovecraft, MR James, Algernon Blackwood and Poe, almost as if he was setting out to write a pastiche collection when in fact he often pre-empted these writers. . If you have a taste for early twentieth century supernatural writing at all you will be pleasantly entertained. Benson's range is his great asset and i found the shifting tones, moods and themes refreshing. (MR James is my favourite weird writer but he does use the same kind of set-ups often - I'm not complaining)
Tales of note are the Blackwood-esqe "The Man Who Went Too Far", the chillingly pagan "Gavon's Eve", the frankly horrific but very well executed occult shocker "The Sanctuary", and a magnificently atmospheric and odd little witch "The Wishing Well".
If you long for a triangulation of the edwardian dining room, intellectual free-thought and real chills then at £2.99 it's a no-brainer (with apologies to the poor creature in "And the dead spake" ... you'll see.)
This dirt cheap volume has a mammoth number of 720 pages and there is not a single bad sentence on it. E.F. Benson's ghostly tales are varied as they are enjoyable. Ghosts, Psychic Vampirism, Healers, Witches, Reincarnated souls, human sacrifices brought on by ghosts, dangerous and secret cults, Vampires, Elementals, Charlatan Psychics, haunted automobiles and even giant monkeys populate these pages of absolutely engrossing supernatural tales. Even the moods that pervade these stories are quite varied; some are very bleak and grisly considering the period at which they were written, others humorous and easy going. The worst that can be said about the stories in this collection is that in most of them the main character's backgrounds are all too similar; they are usually somewhat wealthy gentlemen who upon vacationing in the countryside or small towns stumble upon supernatural entities. Also, some may have a problem with the fact that ghosts are the most frequent entity to feature amongst these stories. However these are very minor gripes considering the vast array of creatures that "haunt" these pages and the quality of these stories. My personal favourites are "The Room in the Tower", "How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery", "Caterpillars", "The Outcast", "The Face", "At the Farmhouse", "The House with the Brick Kiln" and my personal favourite, "The Temple". Out of all of these flesh-creeping tales there was only one story I didn't care for (The Dust-Cloud) and considering there are over fifty of them in this volume I'd say it's bound to satisfy the avid supernatural tales aficcionado.
In the 1980s, E.F.Benson's 'Mapp and Lucia' stories were rediscovered by readers, due in no small part, to an excellent series broadcast on the UK's Channel 4. However, during his lifetime, Benson (1867-1940) was equally well known for his ghost stories, and they are now re-published by Wordsworth, having been out of print for a number of years.
Most of the stories are told in the first person by an upper class gentleman of independent means. Some of my favourites are 'The Confession of Charles Linkworth' in which a ghost communicates by telephone; 'The Terror by night', where a sense of smell plays an important part; 'The Cat' in which an artist is unnerved by the animal as he paints a portrait and 'The Other Bed', set in a snowbound hotel in Switzerland.
Benson is particularly good at evoking atmosphere by describing weather conditions as in 'The Gardener', 'Home, sweet home' and 'The Farmhouse'. 'The Shootings of Achnaleish' is more of a folk tale, set in Scotland, where visitors are made unwelcome by the locals. 'Mr Tilly's Séance' is lighter in tone and told from the viewpoint of a recently deceased person. 'The Face' is an evocative description of a nightmare. The only story that didn't really work for me was 'The Man who went too far'.
In my opinion, the best of the collection is 'Pirates', an elegaic minor masterpiece which lingers in the mind.
The title of my review are the words uttered by the eponymous hero of 'The Bus-Conductor', which was adapted as one of the sequences in the 1945 film 'Dead of Night'.
The book is a fabulous bargain, containing 54 stories in 700+ pages.
If you only know E.F.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely 'old school' ghost stories, a lot of which I hadn't actually read before. Not quite at the same level as M.R. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great value for money, very thick book with loads of stories, classic victorian literaturePublished 16 months ago by obol
this book is just as good as I remembered and I am glad I sent for it ,the book is one I read in my teens and was the start of my love of horror ,scfi and anything other worldy... Read morePublished 19 months ago by sueb
With the exception of M.R. James, who was an influence, I think Benson is, undoubtedly, one of the best ghost story writers I have read. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Max
As usual, tales of country houses with lots of posh people and servants; nothing new in terms of background. Oh, and no... it's not in the least frightening. The search goes on.Published 20 months ago by BevRen