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Largely cloned from the classic Night of the Living Dead, this is an overlong, lukewarm chiller with some superb moments....
by Peter Straub ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 1, 1979
Largely cloned from the classic Night of the Living Dead, this is an overlong, lukewarm chiller with some superb moments. There's an elaborate, confusing framing device that never really clicks into place, but the tale proper begins in the small upstate N.Y. town of Milburn, where the five elderly members of the Chowder Society meet regularly to drink fine booze and tell each other creepy stories. One of their members died a year ago, his face contorted with sheer terror, and since then the four remaining members have been sharing the same horrible nightmare in which they see each other already dead. The eldest and richest member writes to the dead man's brother, a California writer, asking him to come to Milburn, check on his dead brother's house, and perhaps join their society. Well, it just so happens that this writer is the author of a novel about a race of quasi-immortal dead beings who coexist with man but are never seen. And, as it turns out, of course, this is exactly what is happening in Milburn--an onslaught of the ""living dead"" (at least twelve people die) while the town lies gripped in the worst cold snap and blizzard in history. Threading the horrific events is the career of a lady ghoul who takes many forms and whose history goes back to silent films--and there's a knock-out sequence in a small-town movie-house filled with real ghouls marching about while Night of the Living Dead plays on the screen. Typical of the padding here, the fine climax is followed by 40 pages of anticlimax, but for those who are susceptible, this is a truly ghouly mishmash.
Pub Date: April 1, 1979
Page Count: -
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1979
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- Unabridged Audiobook
- Categories: Literature & Fiction
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What listeners say about Ghost Story
- 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 out of 5.0
- 5 Stars 1,168
- 4 Stars 753
- 3 Stars 467
- 2 Stars 165
- 1 Stars 121
- 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 out of 5.0
- 5 Stars 1,259
- 4 Stars 635
- 3 Stars 297
- 2 Stars 110
- 5 Stars 1,063
- 4 Stars 627
- 3 Stars 416
- 2 Stars 154
- 1 Stars 128
Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.
Audible.com reviews, amazon reviews.
- Overall 4 out of 5 stars
- Performance 4 out of 5 stars
- Story 4 out of 5 stars
Great Story! The Best of Peter Straub
If you are looking for fast-paced horror this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy an interesting, eerie story that slowly unfolds you will love this book. It is well written, steady paced, and, for the most part, well narrated. I was initially discouraged from this book because other listeners had complained of bad narration. While it is true that the narrator does a poor impersonation of a woman's voice it is not completely off-putting. Imagine Charlton Heston impersonating a woman and you will have a good idea of what to expect. The main characters are wealthy, retirement-aged, small town men who befriended one another years before the story picks up. Don't let this put you off. The characters will become relatable and endearing shortly into the story. If you enjoy this book, you will also enjoy The Good House by Tananarive Due and Phantoms by Dean Koontz.
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119 people found this helpful
- Performance 5 out of 5 stars
- Heather Quinn
Stop complaining about the narrator
I almost didn't get this book because so many people complained about the narrator. While he doesn't do Stella any justice, all the other voices were really good! The narrator had to do upwards of 20 voices, if not more! He did a great job! I was really impressed. Overall the book was good. I'm not much into fiction but I love scary stories. This wasn't the scariest novel I've ever read, but it was pretty intense at times. I enjoyed it. It was certainly unique.
87 people found this helpful
More than ghosts!
If you are looking for a book that is short, fast paced, has thrills in every chapter, and lots lots of ghosts, this isn’t it. However, this is a well written eerie story that covers the adult lifetimes of five men, now at retirement age. An incident that happened when they were young men bound them together and twisted their individual and collective fates. The consequences happened subtly at first and to some more than others. In their late years things get more intense and blatant; they realize that the consequences of their youthful deed will kill them, all their relatives, and many others. The story is created in layers. The horror in the present is punctuated by flashbacks into the lives of the five members of the Chowder Club that has kept them close friends over the many years. They enlist the help of the nephew of an already deceased member and find that he has been affected too. The “evil” that is toying with them gradually comes into focus. Their town and its people come under siege. This requires that the author explain the histories and relationships of some spouses, business clients, friends, and the sheriff. Peter Straub does an excellent job of creating all the story strands and weaving them together. Be prepared to sit back and let the 22.5 hours unwind. The end is satisfying, but leaves just enough to the listener’s imagination. Buck Schirner's narration is more than adequate. Since most characters are male, a male narrator is most appropriate. It’s understood that he can’t do female voices.
51 people found this helpful
- Overall 5 out of 5 stars
- Story 5 out of 5 stars
- David S. Mathew
The Root of Evil
Steven King named Peter Straub's Ghost Story as one of the greatest horror novels of modern times, alongside The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. King's comparison is very well earned. Like with those novels, Straub takes his sweet time building up his world, specifically the town of Milburn and the history of the Chowder Society, but if you give this a chance you will not be disappointed. A deeply frightening story about the root of all supernatural horrors. I very highly recommend checking it out... this ghost story will really haunt you.
41 people found this helpful
- Performance 2 out of 5 stars
- Story 3 out of 5 stars
Give it time to get into gear...
Any additional comments?
This download is separated int three parts. The first is very, very slow moving. Add to the overall blandness of the beginning; a narrator that sounds as if he is just about ready to keel over and die, ( he ends his sentences with a wierd kind of gasp, like he's run out of air) you might be tempted to leave the book unfinished: DON'T! I put my Ipod on double speed and the narration sounded just about normal. When this book took off, it was worth the agony and doubt of the first part. Death and betrayal and destruction in a smalltown community, which, strangely, seems to have a problem with primiscuity among its leading, and aged citizens.( Thankfully there were no embarassing descriptions of senoir love making.) Reminded me a lot of Stephen King, sans the anticlimactic ending. Good story, give it a chance.
27 people found this helpful
Fun and spooky, perfect for October
Would you consider the audio edition of Ghost Story to be better than the print version?
I have not read the print version, but it's definitely better than the movie!
What did you like best about this story?
The intricacies of the American Gothic represented. This is a traditional masculine Gothic tale that is complex and heavily character driven. Tons of embedded narratives allow for multiple ghost stories within "Ghost Story". And for the more horror-oriented it includes hints of witchcraft, ghosts, changelings, vampires, werewolves, haunted houses AND murder! What more could one want?
Which scene was your favorite?
I liked the embedded narrative about Fenny Bate the best. It is a story told by Sears about when he was a new school teacher in the town, and his experience trying to act as mentor to Fenny Bate. I don't want to give spoilers, but the tale is at once frightening, disturbing and tragic. There are many great scenes in the novel, but this one struck me the most.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I couldn't if I tried! It's too long for that. I did have the urge to listen to it for large blocks of time.
This book is perfect for October. If you have seen the movie, don't let it fool you. "Ghost Story" is chilling and complex, and will keep you at the edge of your seat.
24 people found this helpful
Long Story Short.
Quite a few reviewers have said the first part of the book (it's three parts) was long and uneventful. It's true. However the author spends quite a bit of time getting you to know the characters and shows you how each ended up where they are at and why they are in the book. I enjoyed it and will listen to it again one day. I highly recommend it.
22 people found this helpful
Slow steady boil to frightening
Thoroughly enjoyed this book & can't believe I hadn't ever read it before. Narrator did a nice job with so many characters.
15 people found this helpful
Strong plot slightly undermined by time and narration
I first read this when initially published, and wanted to revisit it as a audiobook. Its have not aged very well, but the the plot is still strong. I had to consciously - and frequently - remind myself it was published four decades ago. The characters are very dated, sexist, racist, and classist. From time to time, I found myself rooting against the white patriarchy this book celebrates. The narrator is absolutely terrible. Some of the characters probably would not have sounded as stereotypical as they did had he not voiced them that way. His female characters were particularly painful. Despite all that, I enjoyed the plot very much.
12 people found this helpful
- Overall 1 out of 5 stars
- Performance 3 out of 5 stars
- Story 1 out of 5 stars
Too sexist to finish
This one got such good reviews and I used to like Straub but the male chauvinism is so thick I couldnt wade through it to appreciate the story. I spent the first of three parts so angry that my moral outrage got the best of me. The blatant disrespect of all female characters, the blithe tossing about of sexist rhetoric ruined it for me.
10 people found this helpful
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R.I.P. novelist Peter Straub
The horror writer behind ghost story and julia , and who co-wrote the talisman with stephen king, has died.
Peter Straub, a novelist whose depiction of the supernatural in books like Julia , Ghost Story , and The Talisman often felt too big and too fantastical to really be defined by the limits of the horror genre, has died. This comes from The New York Times , which says that Straub’s wife, Susan Straub, confirmed the news and explained that he died at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York from “complications after breaking his hip.” Straub was 79.
Straub was born in Milwaukee in 1943, and as a kid he developed a stutter and had to relearn how to walk after being hit by a car and nearly killed. He became a dedicated reader and studied English at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison (the New York Times obit notes that he lived across the street from musician Steve Miller) before getting a mater’s degree from Columbia University. In the ‘60s, he moved to Ireland with his wife to work toward a doctorate, but instead he wrote and published his first novel, Marriages .
Straub later said that he wasn’t a fan of his first book, telling Zack Handlen for The A.V. Club in 2010 that it was “full of adolescent errors and real aimlessness” and that he has never allowed it to be republished because of that. With his third novel, Julia , Straub began to play with the supernatural, and though he didn’t intend it as such, the book was deemed a horror novel simply because it involved a ghost.
Julia was a hit, and though Straub continued to gently push back against the horror label, he began to use more supernatural elements in his writing (especially with books like the best-selling Ghost Story ). The New York Times obit quotes him as saying that he wanted to take the horror genre and “pull it upstairs a little bit,” not by rejecting it outright but by trying to “make a little more of the material than has been made of it in the recent past.” Julia was later adapted into the Mia Farrow film The Haunting Of Julia (a.k.a. Full Circle ) and Ghost Story was later adapted into a movie starring Fred Astaire.
It was around that time in the ‘70s that Straub became friends with another hotshot writer who was helping to redefine and repopularize the horror genre: Stephen King. King told the Times that Straub was “not only a literary writer with a poetic sensibility, but he was readable,” comparing him to Philip Roth “though he wrote about fantastic things.” King and Straub collaborated on The Talisman in 1984, a dark fantasy book about a boy traveling through an alternate universe version of our world. Though somewhat critically divisive, the book was a huge hit (at least partially because both King and Straub were arguably at the height of their powers), and it later spawned a sequel called Black House that became a tie-in with The Dark Tower , Stephen King’s other universe-hopping dark fantasy series.
A third Straub/King collaboration was always supposedly right on the cusp of happening, with Straub telling The A.V. Club that the two of them had talked about writing a third book “now and again” and would probably sit down and work it out within a few years. The third book never ended up materializing, but Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer recently signed on to develop a Talisman adaptation for Steven Spielberg (who has held onto the rights since before the book was published).
Straub’s final novel, A Dark Matter , was published in 2010 and won a Bram Stoker award from the Horror Writers Association. He is survived by his wife, his daughter (novelist Emma Straub), his son (who runs a production company in charge of adapting his father’s work), and three grandchildren.
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Peter straub, horror novelist who collaborated with stephen king, dies at 79.
The 'Julia' and 'Ghost Story' author co-wrote 1984's 'The Talisman' with King, who said working with Straub "was one of the great joys of my creative life."
By Ryan Gajewski
Senior Entertainment Reporter
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Peter Straub, an author of horror and supernatural fiction who had worked with Stephen King , died Sunday at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. He was 79.
His wife, Susan Straub, told The New York Times that his death stemmed from complications due to a broken hip. Additionally, his daughter Emma Straub, also a novelist, announced his passing on Twitter in a tribute thread.
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His work also includes the 1984 fantasy novel The Talisman , focusing on a 12-year-old attempting to save his dying mother by entering a parallel universe, and its 2001 sequel, Black House , both of which he co-wrote with King. The two books connect to King’s epic novel series The Dark Tower .
“It’s a sad day because my good friend and amazingly talented colleague and collaborator, Peter Straub, has passed away,” King tweeted Tuesday. “Working with him was one of the great joys of my creative life.”
Born on March 2, 1943, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Straub earned his MA from Columbia University. He had been hit by a car at age 7 and was hospitalized for several months before having to relearn how to walk. “It left me with a premature bolt of awareness of my own mortality, my physical fragility, and a sense that the world was not benign,” he told USA Today in 2002.
Straub followed his 1970s success with 1988’s Koko , a novel focusing on ritualistic murders taking place in Southeast Asia. His 1990s novels Mystery and The Throat joined Koko to comprise his “Blue Rose Trilogy.”
A number of his novels won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for achievement in horror writing. These included The Throat , Mr. X (1999), Lost Boy, Lost Girl (2003), In the Night Room (2004) and A Dark Matter (2010).
He is survived by wife Susan, whom he married in 1966, and their two children.
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