The first surprise for me with this book was that E. Nesbit, author of The Railway Children and Five Children and It, had even written adult horror stories. I’m very grateful to Penguin for the discovery, for this is a wonderful collection of ghost and horror stories. Nesbit’s neatly evoked English rural and suburban settings and the generally domestic feel of the stories mask some deeply unsettling and often very sad realities. Past and present horrors can be supernatural in nature but are entwined in the very real horrors of family and class divides and deprivation; as a result this slim volume packs a lasting punch. It’s genuinely haunting.
The collection has many highlights but let me pick out The Violet Car. A nurse visits an aged couple who live on the downs, where “the rounded shoulders of the hills leaned against the sky”. The man and wife fear for the sanity and the safety of each other as they struggle to deal with the long aftermath of their daughter being run-over and killed. The story evokes the strangeness of landscape, tackles the grief and despair of loss and yet manages to be a restrained and English precursor to King’s novel about the haunted car, Christine.
M.R. James is the clear reference to these stories but they avoid the academic dustiness of James’ protagonists. Fans of early twentieth century social fiction can join fans of the supernatural, as well as those who fell in love with Nesbit’s children’s stories, in seeking these stories out. Remarkable stuff, and going on my favourites shelf. ~ Simon Spanton
A groom promises to be at the church on time, even if he has to come back from the grave to do it. A man inherits a property where he discovers a portrait of a woman that will change his life forever. Two newlyweds find their dream country cottage, unaware of an ancient curse from the previous owners. A gripping, unsettling and utterly chilling collection of short stories from one of Britain's best loved storytellers.
Publication date: 29/09/2016
Publisher: Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
|Publication date:||29th September 2016|
|Publisher:||Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Horror,|
|Categories:||Classic horror & ghost stories,|
E. Nesbit was born in Surrey in 1858. A world-famous children's author, her works include The Railway Children and Five Children and It. She also wrote several short stories for adults. With her husband, Hubert Bland, she was one of the founding members of the socialist Fabian Society; their household became a centre of the socialist and literary circles of the times. She died in 1924.More About E. Nesbit