I had the most incredible urge to reread Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.
So my partner biked all the way to the library and checked it out for me. He’s special like that.
I love this book, love how the writing veers toward literary, love how Straub’s mind works, how he slips in little asides that add so many dimensions to the story. Here’s one:
“I thought she had adapted to the house in some uncanny fashion, had subtly altered from the student of Virginia Woolf to suburban housewife: suddenly I could see her stocking up on chip dip at the supermarket.”
I love when writers really know their characters, when they dig down and allow them to be imperfect and vulnerable; when they know that all characters are doomed to make mistakes. It seems that many writers are too insecure to give full rein to their characters, to allow them to behave badly and (gasp!), appear unlikable, which is both needed and necessary.
But enough of my theories/views, etc. If you haven’t read Ghost Story, you must. It’s a whopper of a tale, complex and multi-layered, and the main characters are elderly men (how often do you see old men as heroes?).
Plus it’s scary. Not gory-blood-splashing-over-walls-and-heads-exploding-scary but real scary, the kind of fear that creeps up slowly, grabs your hand, squeezes tight and refuses to let go.
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I won’t tell you that but I’ll tell you the worst thing that’s ever happened to me … the most dreadful thing …”
Aside from reading scary books right before bed, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Things are going well. It’s summer in Alaska, for christ’s sake, so of course things are going well. Yet I’ve been wrestling with a couple of areas of my life and know I have to make a decision, and it’s weighing on me. Oh, how I hate making decisions.
But my writing is plodding along. I have work coming out in a magazine later this month, another one next month and one later this fall. I’m running and swimming and taking long walks with my partner and the dog. And my son heads to Stanford next month to start his PhD fellowship (he is the most amazing young man). So it’s all good, or mostly good. Or, to put it this way, the good outweighs the bad. So why, then, have I been spending nights obsessing over the bad?
Hope everyone is having a great weekend. It’s raining here, which perfectly suits my melancholy mood. (For some reason, I suddenly thought of that scene in Persuasion where Anne and all the Elliots head down to Bath. Why would I suddenly think of that, I wonder? Oh, right, probably because of the rain, which reminded me of Anne and Captain Wentworth and the wonderful umbrella scene. Is it just me or has anyone else ever wondered if Jane Austen was slipping us a Freudian moment when Capt. Wentworth says to Jane, about his umbrella, “I wish you would make use of it.”)