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Three Winter Ghosts Kindle Edition
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Throughout Jack’s narrative, we are also unsure whether he is really being haunted or if he is going mad; a tactic employed by James and which has been used in The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which I recently read. The story is kept moving, but in some places lacks depth, in others the descriptions are very effective.
The ending was very confused and abrupt. Though we learn a terrible secret about Jardine, we are no closer to understanding how he has embroiled Jack in his activities, because in turn all he did was show him up in the common room. I did not think the obvious about the ending regarding Jack, otherwise how did he manage to tell the story?
I prefer my ghosts without malevolence, guts and gore.
The start is reminiscent of M R James with an Oxford lecturer telling his largely disbelieving audience about the sad decline of the ghost story as technology has largely taken the mystery element away, however he tells them of his experience with a ghost in Chile and the fatal impact it had on his later life.
This brief part did not really grab me but it's mainly setting the scene for the main act.
When he dies two of his mocking colleagues find that there was more than an element of truth to the old man's tale and when the old man dies and the cold winter nights draw in they slowly start to experience the terror he described as something largely unseen is after them and as in most good ghost stories there is a real sense of hopelessness and foreboding.
It's nicely creepy with an extra twist or two at the end and just the sort of tale to read on a cold winter night.
It is very well written: in terms of prose style I can’t fault it. However, once the superbly written set up is over the implications aren’t, unfortunately, handled with as much assurance. I never felt fully convinced by the protagonists growing sense of terror and, as some other reviewers have said, all in all, he and the other characters in the story seem rather half hearted in terms of emotional depth and this makes it more difficult to empathize with them.
Another problem is that it doesn’t really know what type of story it wants to be: we start off in good ghost story territory; Oxford dons, Gothic architecture and Christmas in the offing; only for it to veer off towards the end into bog standard serial killer country!
The novelette also has echoes of another modern ‘Jamesian’ story; ‘The Matrix’, by Jonathan Aycliffe in which, although of novel length, the author manages to gradually build and then maintain a truly unsettling undercurrent of dread. By comparison Three Winter Ghosts does suffer, but I hope Sargent perseveres because I think there may be true talent there!
So, not a huge read but enough to see you over 2 - 3 nights if, like me, you only read in bed. Will definitely read more by this author.
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Will not be reading anymore by this Author.
I love ghost stories and read these more than any otber stories, but sadly this did nothing for me what so...Read more
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