Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost Hearts and Other Chilling Tales

The other chiller that finished the week was this collection of stories by M R James. In their own way each are different although they share a tone of voice, a storyteller at the hearth, and are all equally memorable.

Old documents found by the narrator and accounts of strange events picked up in conversation are used to unfold stories that while perhaps in their time were more terrifying still have the power to disturb.

The idea of whistling for the wind and then almost being killed by a figure made up of supernatural energy and clothing goes into your mind along with the perfectly described activities at 1am each night in the haunted dolls house.

Perhaps it is the idea that most of those involved in the stories are creators of their own doom by deliberately setting out to court danger by provoking the magic and legends of the past is the one over arching theme. The traveller to Sweden is warned not to hang around the tomb of the old Count Magnus but can’t resist even if it means terror.

Having now discovered James he is set to become part of the fabric of autumn for this reader as his stories both enthral and provoke thought making their life far longer than the time it takes to read the printed letters off the page.

A review will follow soon...

1 comment:

David said...

My girlfiend (now wife of 14 years) sent me MR James' Collected Ghost Stories while I spent four months in Romania a long time ago. It's a book I still dip into at this time of year - sounds like some of the stories are shared with the collection you've just read.