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3.9 out of 5 stars
85
3.9 out of 5 stars
Ghost Story
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on 3 April 2017
Read this classic horror when it first came out, like the ghosts (and the fabulous, demonic, femme fatale at the centre of the story) it haunted me for years. Have read other Straubs but this remains his best. Milburn reminds me of my upstate NY upbringing, bringing back many memories - to read this is both disquieting and a comfort. Just sad that both the film and the cover of this edition let down what I think is one of the top five ghost stories of the 20th century.
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on 28 May 2017
A long novel with many characters. Took a bit of getting through but I made it!
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on 22 June 2014
no

a bit long winded but good all the same would read another book from this author at another time
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on 6 March 2015
Ghost Story (1981) by Peter Straub is, I believe, one of the best horror novels written during the twentieth century. I have a vague list of my top twentieth-century genre novels in the back of my mind; these include Robert Bloch, Psycho (1959), Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962), Jack Finney, The Body Snatchers (1955), Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1988), Robert Heinlein, The Puppet Masters (1951), Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), Stephen King, It (1986), John D MacDonald, The Executioners aka Cape Fear (1962), Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (1954) ... and of course, Ghost Story.

The novel begins with two characters: Donald Wanderley and a teenage girl, who he may or may not have kidnapped. It then switches to the Chowder Society, and one year previous. Milburn, Upstate New York, winter: four elderly men meet up to tell ghost stories (they have been doing this for fifty years). There used to be five of them, but one passed away the year before with a look of horror on his face. The remaining four have since suffered nightmares relating to an inadvertent act carried out during their past. They now decide they can bury a dark past relating to their youth and possibly an act of murder.

Stephen King said of Ghost Story that it is ''the best of the supernatural novels to be published in [...] the 1970s.'' This ode to Henry James's Turn of the Screw offers strong characters, a solid plot, plenty of twists and turns, and a chill around each turn of the page. It surely marks the watershed era of Straub, his other defining offerings being Julia (1975) and If You Could See Me Now (1977). This is a weighty novel in terms of word count; and yet, reading it does not seem a chore. Rather, the text is fluid and before you know it the last page is finished and you hunger for more. That, above all else, is the mark of a good writer.
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on 29 July 2017
I've had this kicking around on my kindle for a couple of years but had never got round to reading it until now. I'm glad it didn't become one of those books I never got around to because it's a fantastic tribute to ghost stories in general and a good novel in it's own right. Peter Straub obviously set out to pay his respects to the genre and there are nods to Hawthorne and James amongst others and he manages to include most of the ingredients for a classic scary story. I won't go too much into the plot but there's a main overarching plot that also incorporates a few other shorter tales as Straub has some fun and meanders around. It feels like a long book and it's not a fast paced read but the tension builds well and a sense of menace increases the further into the book you get. Personally I find the horror genre really hit and miss - there's a lot of dross out there but this isn't one of them. Instead, it's a proper "huddle round a roaring fire and tell tales of spooky things" type of book. Would definitely recommend this and will seek out other novels by Peter Straub.
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on 6 March 2015
Ghost Story (1981) by Peter Straub is, I believe, one of the best horror novels written during the twentieth century. I have a vague list of my top twentieth-century genre novels in the back of my mind; these include Robert Bloch, Psycho (1959), Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962), Jack Finney, The Body Snatchers (1955), Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1988), Robert Heinlein, The Puppet Masters (1951), Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), Stephen King, It (1986), John D MacDonald, The Executioners aka Cape Fear (1962), Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (1954) ... and of course, Ghost Story.

The novel begins with two characters: Donald Wanderley and a teenage girl, who he may or may not have kidnapped. It then switches to the Chowder Society, and one year previous. Milburn, Upstate New York, winter: four elderly men meet up to tell ghost stories (they have been doing this for fifty years). There used to be five of them, but one passed away the year before with a look of horror on his face. The remaining four have since suffered nightmares relating to an inadvertent act carried out during their past. They now decide they can bury a dark past relating to their youth and possibly an act of murder.

Stephen King said of Ghost Story that it is ''the best of the supernatural novels to be published in [...] the 1970s.'' This ode to Henry James's Turn of the Screw offers strong characters, a solid plot, plenty of twists and turns, and a chill around each turn of the page. It surely marks the watershed era of Straub, his other defining offerings being Julia (1975) and If You Could See Me Now (1977). This is a weighty novel in terms of word count; and yet, reading it does not seem a chore. Rather, the text is fluid and before you know it the last page is finished and you hunger for more. That, above all else, is the mark of a good writer.
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on 6 August 2016
Too long and somewhat disjointed. Not at all creepy. Certain strands of the story seemed to come out of nowhere - the music, sometimes the baddies can be killed by touching them....? What was he planning on doing with the 'little girl' (trying to avoid spoilers!)? Disappointed. Think I'll reread The Talisman, as I really enjoyed that. Maybe Mr Straub is better when collaborating.- I certainly remember Black House being utterly chilling.
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on 22 May 2017
I usually read at least one book a week, but it has taken over a month to read this. The story is okay, but I just couldn't engage with the characters or plot, and always found something else to do after reading only a couple of pages at a time. I picked this after enjoying Peter James's collaborations with Stephen King (both of which I enjoyed), but I won't be picking up any more of his solo writing - it's not for me.
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on 4 October 2016
Not my favourite, and not scary in the slightest. I found the characters boring and the pace slow.
At times I found myself wondering where the plot was trying to go and the final chapters were laughable.
Talisman (co-written with Stephen King) is miles better.
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on 22 September 2011
This is one of the best supernatural stories I have ever read. Really have no idea why some reviewers can't finish it or find it boring, I had to literally stop myself reading it or would have carried on all night. The finely drawn atmosphere of dread and menace increases throughout the book and is allied to superb characterisation and an intricate, page turning plot. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and have read all his books, and especially like IT, the Stand and the Talisman (which Straub co-wrote). I can now clearly see where some of his influences come from and it is this book - small town America under attack, the ever present threat from the past and non human beings whose malevolence is almost beyond comprehension.

IF YOU LIKE STEPHEN KING YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!
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