20th Century Ghosts
by Joe Hill
Joe Hill presents himself with this collection as both a wonderful writer and as a story teller that possess that special touch. His works are sly and subtle, while some also manage to be so incredibly creepy and even touching. The stories vary in tone and subject manner, sometimes making it difficult to ascertain exactly what Hill is trying to accomplish in each of the tales presented. However, I give the author a great amount of credit for allowing a mode of thinking on the reader's part, making the stories all the more reader driven while allowing a sense of camaraderie with the author and his characters. It would be impossible not to compare Joe Hill's work with that of his father, Stephen King. When I say that they both write with a similar style and imagination, I mean to take nothing away from Hill. His stories and prose are all his own and while being similar to those of his father, Hill's books have a flavor of their own. Now in every collection there are stories that stand out to certain readers and those that just don't work. I believe that every reader will find "their story" in this collection and many may differ from those I liked the most. The opening story "Best New Horror" is an absolutely wonderful play on the cliched horror stories that are so often presented and the almost satirical nature made this one of my favorites. The title story, "20th Century Ghost" has a much more subdued approach and has the smoother and almost poetical writing that showcases Hill's skill at maintaining both creepy and beautiful. "Pop Art" was another favorite of mine. Highlighting not scares or darkness but the friendship between two boys. Initially in the story I thought it was unbelievable but the honesty and touching nature made a believer out of me. "Voluntarily Committed" was fantastic and I hold it as not only my favorite story in the collection, but as what I think a good short story should be. It is exper tly told and is both heartfelt and by far the biggest scare I had while reading this collection. By the end of the book Hill had proven himself as an exceptional writer and one that I am sure to follow. He is right up there on my list of favorites, right between Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. There are many other stories in this book that I did not reference above and I encourage everyone to read this excellent collection and find their favorites. -- recommended by Wyatt P. - Gere Branch Library
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Fragile things: Short fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman, Night Shift by Stephen King, or Stories : all-new tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio.]
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]
[ Wikipedia page for 20th Century Ghosts ] | [ official Joe Hill web site ]
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