A good ghost story works beneath the surface of our attention, shifting it now and again to a telling plot insight and then letting it sink back into eerie atmosphere. In the recently republished novella Mrs. God, author Peter Straub so masterfully submerges our attention into the uncanny that we cannot see the direction of our journey, or even better, where we had been led. The journey begins with English professor William Standish having been invited to spend three weeks at the Esswood House, a mysterious English manor whose library contains early poems of his grandfather’s first wife. On the plane ride to England, Standish anticipates meeting the distinguished Schneschal family, owners of Esswood. He also anticipates spending time away from his pregnant wife. We might wonder why Standish would so eagerly leave his wife to visit a place where his grandfather’s first wife died, where a previous scholar was murdered, and where three of the five Schneschal children died as babies. A gloomy place, this Esswood House. Definitely worth a visit for curious readers!
Sep 10, 2012