The Ghost Writer by John Harwood
Viola Hatherley was a writer of ghost stories in the 1890s whose work lies forgotten until her great-grandson, as a young boy in Mawson, Australia, learns how to open the secret drawer in his mother’s room. There he finds a manuscript, and from the moment his mother catches him in the act, Gerard Freeman’s life is irrevocably changed. What is the invisible, ever-present threat from which his mother strives so obsessively to protect him? And why should stories written a century ago entwine themselves ever more closely around events in his own life? Gerard’s quest to unveil the mystery that shrouds his family, and his life, will lead him from Mawson to London, to a long-abandoned house and the terror of a ghost story come alive. (via Goodreads)
Original post March 24th, 2008:
If this book were a movie, it would be a 60s Hammer film. There are stories within stories, the details of which mingle and become confused, but you go with it because you’re just as lost as the protagonist. Generally, the narrative is fairly low budget using all the set pieces in any other ghost story, off-set by occasions of thick dread when what you expect doesn’t happen exactly as you would expect it would. Obviously, it was right up my alley. Craft-wise, I need to think more on what Harwood does, maybe reread a few passages. He’s doing something different than Bloch, but I haven’t put my finger on it yet.
Last Friday, I checkout The Seance from the Greater Phoenix Digital Library without realizing that it was by the same author as The Ghost Writer. My review of The Seance is planned for Tuesday.