Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes

Lynn: I love a good ghost story and here is a collection of 5 creepy and beautifully written ghost stories that is also a tribute to the wonderful writing of Edith Wharton. First Deborah Noyes rewrites the classic story Kerfol from the perspective of a young maid in the household, then she takes the framing device of the original story as a spring board for the second ghost story, ladling up large dollups of Wharton's atmospheric prose. Three more stories follow, moving forward in time but all set in the same location and with visitations from the many ghosts that haunt the house.

I started by rereading the original Wharton but that is because I am just compulsive that way. Teens won't have to do that as the first story beautifully retells the story but I expect that many teens will hunt up Wharton's writing when they finish this book! The stories that follow are eerie, the narrative styles skillfully reflective of their time period and completely satisfying.

Noyes is a MUCH under-appreciated writer and this is a book that I hope will get the attention it deserves. Besides it is a really really scary!
Cindy: I liked all of the stories in this unique collection, but the one set in the 80s with the Kerfol mansion being a tourist attraction that inspires a couple to sneak in and spend the night might be the one with the most widespread teen appeal. I hope teens are inspired to riff on their own favorite short story. What's happening now in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" town? Or, who is making a wish on a monkey paw this Halloween? This book is a natural for inspiring creative writing projects. What would you sacrifice to buy your boyfriend/girlfriend the perfect Christmas gift? Let us know what YOU come up with.