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Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Ghost Story (original 1979; edition 1989)

by Peter Straub

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2,078623,190 (3.83)147
Title:Ghost Story
Authors:Peter Straub
Info:Pocket Books (1989), Edition: Multiple Printings, Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites

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Ghost Story by Peter Straub (1979)


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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Meh. Despite coming highly recommended this book left me cold, and not in the bone-chilling terror-inducing sense the author probably intended. Everything about it struck me as overdone----too many characters with too many stories (some of which really had no bearing on the main tale); too much snow; too many deaths (again, some of which were just there without having significance to the narrative); too many borrowings from "classic" horror; too many twists and turns; too much consequence from too little cause; too many pages.
Review written in 2012 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | May 18, 2015 |
3.5 ( )
  e-b | Mar 11, 2015 |
Read long ago--truth to tell, I don't remember this very well. Peter Straub is a difficult author for me. Occasionally, he's very, very good, but he can be quite wordy and overwhelming to read. ( )
1 vote sturlington | Feb 27, 2015 |
Straub shows in Ghost Story that he is a master novelist.The novel is constructed so well; it is a symbol of an artist writing from his experience; based on a fine perception of relationships between characters, in which a town is arrayed against heroes. He builds suspense upon suspense; while heightening our awareness of past lives and their affects on our living days.

The novel is an homage to Hawthorne, James, and Poe. Ghost story according to Peter Straub stated from his "rereading Hawthorne, James and went out and got all of Lovecraft and a lot of books by his "set"-this was because I wanted to find out what my tradition was"...(King 244)The elements in the story keep you focused in a tight constriction. He uses the writing lessons he learned from Henry James, to craft a 20th century novel, in a 19th century mood. For example look at how he describes the trees in Milburne: "The bones of the trees, hung against the leaves like signposts to winter. Dead trees carpeted the square." Stephen King said, "Straub wants to play around with reality by having characters (1)acting out roles in books (2) watching a film (3)hallucinating (4)dreaming or (5) transported into a private fantasy. Ghost Story attests the power and precision and the structural unity of a great novel, no matter what genre.

( )
1 vote Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Ghost Story was a ground-breaking classic written in 1979 that set the bar a mile high for any paranormal tale to come after it. Straub's story isn't a quick read. It's a slow burn through multiple layers that weave in and out of the story. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing. On the contrary, I loved the eerie atmosphere he created along with such detailed characters that weren't flat and one-dimensional. I've read a few negative reviews on here and the common theme is that it was too much or they found it boring. I feel bad for these people that they have no patience and that their short attention spans won't let such a wonderful tale slowly unfold before their very eyes. For those of you that don't want fast food horror and enjoy savoring a creepy atmospheric tale, look no further.

When I say that this story is layered, I mean thick, rich multiple layers. It's set in the small, idyllic town of Milburn in rural New York. In 1979, there is no mention of chain stores or houses that all look alike in Milburn. These are mom and pop run places and every home is as unique as the residents that live in them. A group of older gentlemen that call themselves the Chowder Society meet at a different member's home every month. The rules are that they wear evening clothes, don't drink too much, and rotate through the members on who was going to tell a story for that evening. The meeting following the peculiar death of one of their members, to break the tension, a member asked "What's the worst thing you've ever done?" To which he replied, "I won't tell you that, but I'll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me...the most dreadful thing." And so the ritual of telling ghost stories began. Unfortunately, this also brought on the nightmares that would plague the members. You see, fifty years ago they were part of a terrible accident and a young girl died and now she wants her revenge.

Straub creates such a realistic setting in Milburn that you'd swear he was from NY. Oddly enough, he grew up in Wisconsin. The atmosphere and character development is what makes Ghost Story so effective. The bitter cold of the winter blizzard. The isolationism of being cut off from one another. The eerie dread that permeates through the story as you try to decipher what is real and what is imagination. So kick back in your recliner. Have a drink by your side and let Straub chill you to the bones with this tale.(less) ( )
1 vote buckeyematrat | Oct 12, 2014 |
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The chasm was merely one of the orifices of that pit of blackness that lies beneath us, everywhere. -- The Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ghosts are always hungry. -- R.D. Jameson
For Valli Shaio and Gregorio Kohon
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What was the worst thing you've ever done?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671685635, Mass Market Paperback)

In life, not every sin goes unpunished.


For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past -- and get away with murder.

Peter Straub's classic bestseller is a work of "superb horror" (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time -- and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past -- and get away with murder.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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