Friday, October 30, 2015

RIP.X Challenge: The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

I'm finishing off the month with a selection for the RIP.X Challenge.

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton is a book that's been on my bookshelf for many years, and I'm so glad I finally read it. The book is made up of eleven stories that Wharton wrote at various times in her career. 

The writing is eloquent and subtle, which is what I've come to expect of Wharton, and there's a strong element of psychological suspense at work in these stories. For most of the stories, the setting is a large house where things go bump in the night. Many of the stories occur during autumn or in the dead of winter.  

Of all the stories, two appealed to me the most this week: Afterward and Bewitched. Afterward is the disquieting story of an American couple who take up residence in a country home in England. When the story begins, the husband is missing, and the wife tells of events that have led up to his disappearance and what these events might mean. Is there really a ghost involved in his disappearance, or is something equally sinister at work? How well does she really know her husband?

Bewitched doesn't take place in a big house but on a dreary isolated farm during a snowstorm in Hemlock County. Prudence suspects that her husband Saul is having an affair with the beautiful young Ora Brand, even though Ora died a year ago. Prudence calls three farmers in the community to pay her a visit--Orrin Bosworth, Deacon Hibben, and Sylvester Brand (father of Ora). Prudence explains the situation and that her husband has been meeting Ora in a nearby abandoned shack. At nightfall, when the men leave, they stop by the shack. What happens next is the mystery. Is there ghostly activity there? Is Saul really seeing a dead woman or her sister who is very much alive?

This is a collection of stories that I look forward to reading again. When I do, one of the other stories will probably catch my fancy. I highly recommend The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, especially on a stormy night. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you shared about this book. I had no idea that this author wrote any ghostly type stories. I'll keep it in mind for next year. I had a good time with R.I.P., my first time.