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on 15 March 2014
I bought this because Margaret Atwood tweeted about it and I thought that anything she rates is good enough for me (I am now wondering if she read it first, however...) This is a very short ghost/evil spirit story concerning those roadside markers which commemorate people who have been killed on the road. It's always nice to read a modern ghost story and this one has very modern subject matter, but the core of the story is basically "A warning to the curious" and various Victorian Ghost stories of that ilk which warn people not to be too curious about matters which basically don't concern them.

The man in the story spots a roadside marker and wonders to whom it belongs. Later, as he drives to and from work along the lonely highway, he sees a bottle of wine and a note left on the grave and wonders who has left it there. The note is an achingly sad message of love and grief to the deceased. The main character gets curious about who is leaving these notes and - despite several warnings - decides to see who it is who is doing this and then encounters an evil spirit.

I had problems with this on two counts - (1) The evil spirit seemed to me to be more of an object of pity than anything else. I mean, how can any spirit which leaves such lovely notes to her lost lover, be as bad as the character is making out? As a reader, I too wished that the nosy character would just leave her alone. And (2) The price! Over a quid for less than 20 pages is way, way too expensive - especially when it's not the best ghost story I've ever read.

There's a nice atmosphere weaved around the lonely highway and the (obviously) lonely main character but apart from that, there's nothing all that special in this. Save your money and spend it on Helen Dunmore's The Greatcoat or one of Susan Hill's stories instead - is my (personal) view.
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