Women and Ghosts

Overview

The author of The War Between the Tates and the Pulitzer prize-winning Foreign Affairs now brings her irresistible wit to the ghost story.
 
In nine spooky tales, Alison Lurie writes of women haunted by ghosts both literal and metaphorical: A woman about to marry Mr. Right is visited by the spirit of his first wife; a dead fiancé haunts a foreign service officer every time she has an intimate moment with another man; the ghost of a girl in...
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Women and Ghosts

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Overview

The author of The War Between the Tates and the Pulitzer prize-winning Foreign Affairs now brings her irresistible wit to the ghost story.
 
In nine spooky tales, Alison Lurie writes of women haunted by ghosts both literal and metaphorical: A woman about to marry Mr. Right is visited by the spirit of his first wife; a dead fiancé haunts a foreign service officer every time she has an intimate moment with another man; the ghost of a girl in a Halloween costume disconcerts the perfect housewife. A secretary on a diet begins to see obese people everywhere she looks; a self-conscious poet is shadowed by her intrusive doppelganger; and a capricious, malevolent spirit seems to have inhabited an acquisitive matron’s prized piece of furniture.
 
Delightfully strange and beautifully told, these nine tales show Alison Lurie at her luminous best.

In these nine utterly delightful tales, Alison Lurie, one of America's wittiest and most literate novelists, writes of women haunted by ghosts both literal and metaphorical. An irresistible blend of realism, satire, and fantasy, each story is amusing, lightly spooky, and entirely satisfying.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From Pulitzer-winning novelist Lurie (Foreign Affairs) comes this first-and disappointing-short-story collection with a supernatural slant. Humorously spooky at best, and breaking no new ground, the nine stories here feature women who are disturbed during their daily routines by the appearance of Disney-like entities from another realm. A dead boyfriend returns to prevent his ex from dating other men; a wicked highboy doesn't want its drawers opened; a Wordsworth scholar turns into a sheep; a woman on a diet is plagued by obese ghosts who lure her into bakeries. Lurie's storytelling remains smooth throughout; what's missing is any sense of risk-taking or envelope-pushing. The endings are consistently dull and often gimmicky, and many of the stories are formulaic. An exception to the routine entries is ``The Pool People,'' whose premise about a rich woman's swimming pool haunted by workmen has a strong social tension ticking away behind it. Overall, though, this is wraithlike entertainment from an author who usually delivers far more substantive work. Paperback rights to Avon; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The nine short stories in this collection display Lurie's fascination with the supernatural. Known for her incisive look at the battle between the sexes (The War Between the Tates, LJ 8/74), the author moves to the edges of reality where malevolent spirits harass the living, punishing them for previous misdeeds. The stories range from the humorous, like "Fat People," in which an overweight woman is haunted by visions of incredibly obese people when she tries to diet; to the tragic, like "The Pool People," in which the spirits of two dead workers wreak their revenge on the socialite whose callousness and cruelty caused their deaths. In between, Lurie explores the gray areas of reality, showing, for instance, that the ghosts haunting a woman may not be authentic spirits but an illusion created by her fragile psyche. While this lightweight collection is not vintage Lurie, it should appeal to lovers of the supernatural and will undoubtedly be popular around Halloween.-Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385518314
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Lurie
Alison Lurie
Whether she is deconstructing the mores of modern romance, the clothes we wear, or the books we read as children, Alison Lurie can be depended upon to bring out the finer points of perception that often escape us. In both fiction and nonfiction, her witty, urbane prose enlivens whatever subject she chooses.

Biography

Alison Lurie is the author of many highly praised novels, including The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones (Prix Femina Etranger), and Foreign Affairs (Pulitzer Prize for fiction). She teaches writing, folklore, and literature at Cornell University.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Hometown:
      Ithaca, New York; London, England; Key West, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 3, 1926
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      A.B., Radcliffe College, 1947

Table of Contents

Ilse's House 1
The Pool People 22
The Highboy 40
Counting Sheep 58
In the Shadow 75
Waiting for the Baby 105
Fat People 122
Another Halloween 138
The Double Poet 151
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