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Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque

June 2, 2019

One cannot, I think, err when choosing to read one of Joyce Carol Oates’ anthologies of stories.    This volume, Haunted:  Tales of the Grotesque, is as good as any other at introducing the reader to one of the great anthologists and short fiction writers of the last century. Winner of several  O. Henry awards for her short fiction, Oates has also received the Rea Award for Achievement in the Short Story.  Oates clearly knows her way around the shadows and mists on the dark side of the imagination.

Haunted, a collection of sixteen tales that range from classic ghost stories  to portrayals of chilling psychological terror, raises the genre to the level of fine literature—complex,  multilayered, and gripping fiction that is very scary indeed” (Cover).  Each story in the succession of entries becomes the new favorite in this captivating collection.  “Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly” is a carefully and wonderfully wrought fiction that follows on the heels of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, featuring both the notorious Peter Quint and the unhappy ghost of Miss Jessel.  A fine and rare read, this collection is a must for the ghost story enthusiast.

Yukon Cornelius avatar


Paul Smethers, a former high school English teacher, is an Associate with the Adult Services Team at Main. His special interests are poetry, ghost stories, and the French Bourbon dynasty.