The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories

Ghost stories tap into our most primal emotions as they encourage us to confront the timeless question: What comes after death? Here, in tales that are by turn scary, funny, philosophic, and touching, you’ll find that question sharpened, split, reconsidered–and met with a multitude of answers.

A spirit who is fated to spend eternity reliving the exact moment she lost her chance at love, ghostly trees that haunt the occupant of a wooden house, specters that snatch anyone who steps into the shadows, and parakeets that serve as mouthpieces for the dead: these are just a few of the characters in this extraordinary compendium of one hundred ghost stories. Kevin Brockmeier’s fiction has always explored the space between the fantastical and the everyday with profundity and poignancy. As in his previous books, The Ghost Variations discovers new ways of looking at who we are and what matters to us, exploring how mysterious, sad, strange, and comical it is to be alive–or, as it happens, not to be.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have to say I was incredibly impressed by this collection. Short stories are hard enough to do well, and micro-fiction infinitely more so, but Brockmeier manages to present one hundred two-page stories where every single one was interesting to read. Every. Single. One manged to be a complete story in two pages or less.

Given their length, I can’t say that most of the stories were overly memorable, but the pure fact that each one was so deeply distinctive that you never thought you were reading the same story twice easily showcases what a unique talent Kevin Brockmeier is.

You won’t read anything else like this all year.

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