The ghost writer /

by Harwood, John.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2004Description: 369 p. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0151010749 :.Title notes: $25.00 7-2004 (SPM)Subject(s): Mothers and sons -- Fiction | Mothers -- Death -- Fiction | Fiction -- Authorship -- Fiction | Psychological fiction | Ghost storiesOnline resources: Publisher description
List(s) this item appears in: Halloween Awards: Click to open in new window
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Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult Fiction FIC HAR Available 39270002451205

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A tantalizing tale of suspense and family secrets that weaves Victorian ghost stories into the present - where they start to come true <br> <br> Timid, solitary librarian Gerard Freeman lives for just two things: his elusive pen pal Alice and a story he found hidden in his mother's drawer years ago. Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at his mother's role in a sinister crime. And as he discovers more of Viola's chilling tales, he realizes that they might hold the key to finding Alice and unveiling his family's mystery - or will they bring him the untimely death they seem to foretell?<br> <br> Harwood's astonishing, assured debut shows us just how dangerous family skeletons - and stories -- can be.<br> <br>

$25.00 7-2004 (SPM)

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • "For those of us who love the tradition of literary high
  • Victorian Gothic -
  • The Ghost Writer is a feast, but you don't need any prior knowledge of these other writers to savor the pure pleasure of reading this book.
  • The fissures in the text that let in a gust of modernity - computers, emails - just lift it into real, pure horror.
  • It is also mordantly funny!
  • That is sheer genius - to make me terrified and laughing all at once.
  • A tour de force." -
  • Author of Seven Tales of Sex and Death "
  • Harwood has an extraordinary knack of feeling
  • His way into the style, vocabulary and characteristic
  • Preoccupations of the great ghost story writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • He never puts a foot wrong
  • The skill and verve of these stories are undeniable and irresistible
  • Harwood is an expert at pacing his narrative, generating
  • suspense and conjuring up things that go bump in the night."
  • - Sydney Morning Herald

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">I FIRST SAW THE PHOTOGRAPH ON A HOT JANUARY AFTERnoon in my mother's bedroom. She was asleep-so I thought-in the sunroom at the other end of the house. I crept in through the half-open door, enjoying the feeling of trespass, breathing the scents of perfume and powder and lipstick and other adult smells, mothballs for the silverfish and insect spray for the mosquitoes our screens never quite managed to keep out. The net curtains were drawn, the blind half lowered; there was nothing to see through the window except the blank brick wall of old Mrs Noonan's place next door.I stole across to my mother's dressing-table and stood listening in the dim light. The house was silent apart from the muffled ticking and creaking which my father insisted was the iron roof expanding in the heat, not someone creeping about in the dark cavity above the ceiling. One by one I tried the drawers, three on each side. As always, only the bottom left-hand drawer was locked. There were wooden panels between each layer, so you couldn't see what was in the drawer below by pulling out the one above. Last time I had searched through the litter of tubes and jars and bottles crammed into the uppermost drawer on the right. Today I started on the next one down, rummaging through a shoebox crammed with packets of needles and carded buttons, reels of coloured cotton and hanks of wool, the loose ends hopelessly tangled.To see if there was anything behind the shoebox, I tugged at the drawer. It stuck, then shot right out of the dressing-table and hit the floor with a thud. I tried to force the drawer back in, but it wouldn't go. Any second now, I expected to hear my mother's footsteps hurrying up the hall, but no sound followed. Even the ticking in the ceiling had died away.There seemed no reason why it wouldn't fit. Except that something cold and hard was stuck to the underside, right at the back. A small brass key. I had prised it loose, peeled away the tape and opened the locked drawer before the enormity of what I was doing had begun to register.The first thing I saw was a book, whose title would elude me for years afterward. The Carillon? The Chemillon? The Chalmion? A word I didn't know. The grey paper cover was crumbling at the edges and pitted with rust-coloured spots. It had no pictures and looked grown-up and boring.I couldn't find anything else. Then I saw that the brown paper lining on the bottom of the drawer was actually a very large envelope. It had a typewritten address and stamps on it, and one end had been slit with a knife. Another disappointment: just a thick bundle of pages with typewriting on them, tied together with rusty black ribbon. As I drew out the bundle, a photograph slid into my lap.I had never seen the woman in the photograph before, and yet I felt I knew her. She was young, and beautiful, and unlike most people I had seen in photographs she did not look straight at you, but gazed away to one side, her chin tilted slightly upwards, as if she Excerpted from The Ghost Writer by John Harwood All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Harwood's compelling first novel speaks of love, family, and obsession. Since age 14, Australian Gerard Freeman has been corresponding with pen pal Alice Jessel and dreams of one day visiting her in England, in spite of his mother's disapproval. Alice, confined to a wheelchair, refuses to meet or even talk on the phone with Gerard until she can walk again. While snooping in his mother's dresser one day, Gerard finds a ghost story written by his grandmother Viola. Over time, he finds more stories, all eerily reminiscent of his family history but written years before the events actually happened. What is going on? Will he ever find his beloved Alice, or will family tragedies somehow stand in their way? Harwood's well-drawn characters and Gothic plot propel the reader toward the novel's denouement. Including the text of Viola's stories adds to the surreal drama, as they serve as untrustworthy flashbacks and help blur the line between fantasy and reality. Strongly recommended for all but the smallest public libraries.-Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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