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Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them,…

Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them, Contemporary Michigan Literature (Made in…

by Keith Taylor

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The two editors, both contributors to this collection, have brought together ten other Michigan writers to produce some form of ghostly writing. All twelve pieces have Michigan settings, and each tale represents a varying degree of spectral—not spiritual—speculation. The editors challenge the reader to judge whether a piece might be a true tale, pure fiction, or personal essay.

When considering Michigan, most readers probably will consider the hard economic depression and depopulation that the State might have suffered. If there is a prejudice about the decay of inner-city Detroit, then a reader can appreciate what drives the story of “The Man on the Edge.” There is a hysterical promenade through Michigan’s economic history provided in “Not Even Lions and Tigers,” wherein haints may not be the only reason for a well-fortified bunker. A layoff provides the impetus in “Thin Air,” where a mysterious ride might lead to a possible job referral. And “Estate Sale” offers more than a chance encounter with a vintage chair.

Some stories can be seen as perhaps the result of, or propelled by, mind-expanding stimulants: booze in “Bitchathane,” prescription drugs in “Backseat Driver,” or marijuana in “Ghost Anecdote.” Plus, some form of psychosis could be attributed to these stories as well as to “Making Bakes,” or “Belief.” These tales involve some form of spirit apparitions.

Nevertheless, “Pier Road” is a humorous debunking of ghosts in the attic, and “The Devil In Cross Village” is a grand writing in the “faction” genre, which I define as fiction wrapped within historical details—whether those facts of true, somehow twisted, or simply fabricated.

These stories will not qualify for inclusion in Tales From the Crypt. The array may not be chillingly spooky, but it could prompt some reflection or discussion about any personal paranormal happening. On the other hand, this slim volume does evidence that there are no mean-spirited haunts in Michigan. ( )
  terk71 | Sep 13, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0814334741, Paperback)

For Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them editors Keith Taylor and Laura Kasischke asked twelve celebrated Michigan writers to submit new stories on one subject: ghosts. The resulting collection is a satisfying mix of tales by some of the state’s most well-known and award-winning writers. Some of the pieces are true stories written by non-believers, while others are clearly fiction and can be funny, bittersweet, spooky, or sinister. All share Michigan as a setting, bringing history and a sense of place to the eerie collection. Ghosts in these stories have a wide range of motivations and cause a variety of consequences. In some cases, they seem to dwell in one person’s consciousness, as in Steve Amick’s “Not Even Lions and Tigers,” and other times they demonstrate their presence with tangible evidence, as in Laura Hulthen Thomas’s “Bones on Bois Blanc.” Spirits sometimes appear in order to communicate something important to the living, as in James Hynes’s “Backseat Driver” and Lolita Hernandez’s “Making Bakes,” to change the course of events, as in Anne-Marie Oomen’s “Bitchathane,” or to cause characters to look inside themselves, as in Elizabeth Schmuhl’s “Belief.” The supernatural stories in Ghost Writers visit a mix of Michigan locations, from the urban, to the suburban, and rural. Authors find ghosts in family farmhouses, downtown Detroit streets, an abandoned northern Michigan lighthouse, gracious Grosse Pointe homes, a mid-Michigan apartment complex, and the crypt of a Polish priest in the small town of Cross Village. Taylor and Kasischke have assembled a collection with a diverse mixture of settings, tones, and styles, ensuring that Ghost Writers will appeal to all readers of fiction, particularly those interested in the newest offerings from Michigan’s best fiction writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)

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