James Hale – The Twilight Book (Gollancz, 1981)
Alex Hamilton – A Helping Hand
Janice Elliott – Trystings
Steve Wilson – My Breath Is Inside You
Giles Gordon – Hamlet: The Ghost’s Story
Jay Gilbert – Aunt Jude
James Hamilton-Patterson – Two Of You
Dominic Cooper – The Country Of The Gull
Salman Rushdie – The Avatar
Sarah Lawson – Spaniard’s Rock
Fred Urquhart – The Saracen’s Stick
Roger F. Dunkley – Zane Forsyth’s Resurrection Affair
Frank Morley – The Cucullati
Here is a splendid collection of ghost stories, and a truly international gathering of ghosts: they come from India, medieval France, Denmark (a king, no less), Turkey, an Asian island; there’s an alarming accident in Germany, an Aztec resurrection, an Anglo-Saxon visitation, a Roman invasion of an unexpected kind, a Spanish tragedy, and a lost child in the English countryside.
Giles Gordon shows us the battlements of Elsinore; Janice Elliott’s lovers cross the centuries in passionate reincarnation. Alex Hamilton hears a dialogue between a father in a mental home and his young son with unsafe friends; Sarah Lawson’s sad ghost is a Spanish sailor from the Armada, cast up on a Scottish island. And Fred Urquhart brings back to life in our own day, for a fitting revenge, a boy sold into slavery on the Children’s Crusade.
Frank Morley provides a grimmer haunting, along Hadrian’s Wall, and James Hamilton-Paterson is truly frightening about possession in the South Seas. And there’s black humour in Steve Wilson’s tale of scatological Aunt Alice and a revenge which involves an inflatable sex-prop.
Ghosts ancient and modern patrol the twilight of the pages; turn on the light, and then turn on the light.