An English Ghost Story
Release Date: OUT NOW!
304 pages | £ 7.99 ( paperback) Author: Kim Newman Publisher: Titan Books
Film critic and genre
cognoscenti Kim Newman is best known for his Anno Dracula novels, which take a tantalising premise – what if the Count conquered Europe? – and use it to weave an epic alt- history. An English Ghost Story couldn’t be more different in both tone and scale: it’s a standalone work focusing on a single family.
The Naremore family have moved to the Hollow, an isolated house in rural Somerset, where they soon realise that there are supernatural forces at work – which is fine with them. It’s a happy place. Gradually, however, the silent treaty between spirit and human begins to fray.
All the elements of a classic spook story are here: a mysterious building with a mind of its own; halfglimpsed figures who may or may not be there; a deep sense of foreboding. But the Hollow isn’t the Overlook Hotel and the ghosts are generally benign. The problems stem instead from the Naramores’ troubled history and strained personal relationships.
Newman captures the madness and mundanity of family life well. Vintage- loving teen Jordan occasionally feels like a slightly obnoxious mouthpiece for his views on contemporary pop culture, but that’s forgiveable in this beautifully written book, which begins with a fairy tale- like sense of wonder before giving way to something much more sinister. Will Salmon