Ghost Story

Ghost Story

by Peter Straub


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101989197
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 49,014
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Peter Straub is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. They include Ghost Story, Koko, Mr. X, In the Night Room, and two collaborations with Stephen King, The Talisman and Black House. He has written two volumes of poetry and two collections of short fiction, and he edited the Library of America’s edition of H. P. Lovecraft: Tales and the Library of America’s two-volume anthology, American Fantastic Tales. He has won the British Fantasy Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, three International Horror Guild Awards, and ten World Fantasy Awards. In 1997, he was named Grand Master at the World Horror Convention. In 2005, he was given the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. At the World Fantasy Convention in 2010, he was given the WFC’s Life Achievement Award.


New York City

Date of Birth:

March 2, 1943

Place of Birth:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


B.A. in English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1965; M.A., Columbia University, 1966

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Ghost Story 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This 22-year-old novel still stands as Peter Straub's best work, despite a few backgound details and cultural riffs that tie it to the seventies. It offers a complex, intelligent integration of deceit, murder, intrigue, and terror tactics, all with a supernatural twist. Straub, along with his contemporary and buddy Stephen King, mass-marketed the concept of organized, celled assaults from beyond the grave on the collective inhabitants of smug, self-righteous, blue-blooded establishments like the book's Milburn, NY. In this case, the ghost leader is Gregory Bate, a predator and pedophile murdered by his younger siblings during WW1 who reappears during the ensuing decades with a cadre of the victimized dead to strike terror and exact gruesome vengeance from the town he despises. Milburn is thematically represented by the Chowder Club, a group of old men, respected citizens all, who share some connection with Bate and his familiars, primarily from a terrible event 50 years past. Bate uses the town---its people, its sins, its weaknesses, and its hypocrisy---as weapons to terrorize, maim, destroy, debauch, and defile the living and the dead. As Straub points out in a reference to the legend of the Manitou, the demon's vanity requires that he identify himself to the victim to heighten the pleasure of terror and annihilation. Bate lopes through the town like a wolf in the fold, striking both carefully and indiscriminately, by himself and with his helpers. Straub shows the scholar's ability to link both myth and morality, and the conflict at the center of the book must ulimately unfold as Order v. Chaos. Straub's supernatural terrorists enjoy the unimaginable powers of darkness and are implacable in their fury, but through occasional moments of pathos, we never forget they once were human and might have a legitimate score to settle. Straub's narrative and tone sometimes crowd the rail, but GHOST STORY is one of the best modern tales of the supernatural, and may be the best of its particular type.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't quite sure where this book was going; now I cannot put it down. Plus,it is a lot of book for the price. It is scary in an unconventional manner - I read The Hauntin by Shirley Jackson first - so I was somewhat prepared. Stay with this, it gets better and better over 500 pages. I would read Peter Straub again!
Integrity_Consultants More than 1 year ago
There are few ghost stories that rank among the highest, those that you never forget and those, when asked for a recommendation, that you will always think of. This is one of those books. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Guest More than 1 year ago
8 years ago I read this book,and I still can't forget it.I could never remember who wrote the book,(not because he was not important)but I did remember the story.It scared me to the point that I could not sleep.I thought it would be like any other horror story I had read....I quickly found out,that was not the case.No book ever has measured up since.It pulls you right in and doesn't let go,even after you are done reading the book.
Refill More than 1 year ago
“What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?” So starts the 1979 Peter Straub novel "Ghost Story" with this fascinating question. Of what I have read from Straub so far, it is by far his best work. The Chowder Society is a four-man group of storytellers. Stories of horror are told, and it starts to lead to strange occurrences in their town, where these men’s pasts may be coming back to haunt them. As their lives are affected by horrible events, so may the town also be being affected. That is a very basic explanation of a very well-crafted book partly because I do not want to give much away. What Straub does is create a town of characters that are interesting, flawed, and trying to live relatively normal lives as events around them become less and less normal. In some of the early chapters, there can be a little slowness, but these are brief instances while a foundation is being laid where you will see revelations made that are macabre and then tense and then flat-out scary. Without question, this is one of the scariest novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. It is my fourth Straub novel (“Marriages” – absolutely awful, “Julia” – good, not great, but there were flashes of greatness, “If You Could See Me Now” – well, at least it’s not as bad as “Marriages”), and it is not only the best I’ve seen from him, it’s also one of the best books I’ve ever read from any author. The joy of reading this is only superseded by the growing awareness of the sun going down and your imagination having fun with you as the goosebumps form. For full effect, read this at night. The inclusion of a few slow parts and a bit of writing style than can be difficult to follow at times are just not worth more than barely mentioning. The characters and what they have done, are doing, and may do is far more captivating. I love this book, and it should make for a great re-read someday. 4.5 stars out of 5.
GLOCKfan More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. This story gave me the chills while reading some sections. The story was a little slow in the beginning, but towards the end I couldn't put the book down.
Cynthia_77 More than 1 year ago
Ghost Story is one of those books that will leave you saying, "Now that was some good writing!". The story builds slowly from the beginning to the middle, then things get a crazy for the main characters, plus the whole town in the story. The story was not overly complex, but it was well thought out and told amazingly. This was the first Peter Straub book that I've read, and because I enjoyed Ghost Story so much, I will be reading more by this author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw the title of this book when it first came out, and thought it was pretty unoriginal. I only bought it because it said "scary enough to jolt the most jaded ghost story addict" which I pretty much was those 30ish years ago. The title is deliciously understated, because this is still one of the most original story lines that is genuinely terrifying from every angle. The character that says, "We are what scares you," sums it up nicely. It is well developed to the point of feeling like you really understand the Chowder Society members at a personal level, then...all you-know-what cuts loose and never stops with the unexpected ways of frightening the characters and the reader. I have bought at least a dozen copies of this book to share with people, and...all these years later, it is still my all time favorite.
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mbertsch on LibraryThing 8 months ago
While this book was a bit slow to begin with, once it got going, it went great. I stayed up until I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. The thought of a vengeful ghost is great.
andyray on LibraryThing 8 months ago
straub's work is winding and twisty to the point one gets exasperated, and his research is a bit sloppy. He has a car going off a ditch near Panama City, Florida, and rolling over on the way down, stopping on the berm by the Gulf waters. Could not happen. Not in this universe. There is NO DROP near the Gulf from Appalachacola to Pensacola. None. Nada. That destroyed his credibility for me, and made it not necessary to read any more of his work.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this book ages ago and several times since. It is one of the scariest book I have ever read. Not jumping-out-of-your-skin scary, but something-is-under-my-skin scary. There is lots of snow, read it in the summer. I read it in a snow storm the first time and could not sleep without dreaming about it. I know, I'm a wimp.
TLievens on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I never really got into this book; I read about one third of it and then stopped because I did not connect to the characters not to what happened to them. Although it is very well written - some scenes are very frightening and enthralling - the storyline was obscured by the slow pace of the book and many side stories.
SimoneSimone on LibraryThing 8 months ago
And everyone has a book that makes them shiver.
DaphneJ on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this some time ago and wonder of wonders, I remember it. Right there, I know how good it is as a big fat read. Engrossing and satisfying right to the end.
miyurose on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is not your typical ghost story. More creepy than outright scary, though it has its moments. Sometimes the weather is the scariest thing. I can see why it's considered a horror classic. The book nicely comes full circle, though I had forgotten the strange beginning by the time I got to the end.
freddiefreddie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I want to give this a higher rating, because I did like much of Straub did in the ending. I disagree with the philosophy that the aging beings had¿that humans are woefully unaware of their existence and always have been. It's just in modern times that we've gotten away from our knowledge of ghosts. Not that technology dispels the shadows around the edges of things. More in that technology leads us to believe we know everything. But our ancestors were much more attuned to the natural world and what lay in it, supernatural or not. But I digress. The book was good. Not great¿there were sections I had to slog through¿but good. It's possible that I had a hard time getting into it because I was reading on the train, and any ghost story, of course, is best when read alone by a fire in an old house, where the doors creak and the house makes unexplained noises.
Sengels on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Interesting reviews here. I found this to be one of the scariest books I've ever read. Without any spoilers, I'd have to say that the scariest part is not knowing who or what was evil at any given time. Without being able to trust anyone or anything, the protagonist is truly alone. I've tried other Straub books, but they didn't grab me like this one did. If you're going to read one horror novel, pick this one up.
perlle on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I had heard about this book for years, so I finally picked it up. Parts of the story were really well-thought out and nicely constructed. The sequence of time and back stories are both well-done. But other parts I¿m still asking myself about. (I don¿t want to give anything away, so I won¿t go into those.)The pacing of the book is also a bit off. The beginning is so slow I can really see why so many people give up on this one. It¿s not until about page 200 that things start to pick up. The middle is great, but the end seemed rushed. I got the impression that the book needed more editting.Even though nothing in the story really scared me, it was a page turner (mostly) and I found it enjoyable.
eternal_synn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Reading all of the reviews about this book online make it clear that it is frightening. Many people said that they couldn't sleep at night while they were reading this book. Even my brother told me not to read it at night. However, for me, it started out fairly slowly. I found myself wondering when it was going to finally pick up. The promise of something happening kept me reading the book. I will admit that the writing wasn't drab or daunting.It feels as though the author is trying to give the reader an impression of the town, the people, and the relationship these four men have with their community. In that way, Straub sets the stage very well. The growing creep factor seems to start after Sears' first story of Fenny and Gregory. However, like King following in his footsteps, Straub uses the slight, uneasy changes occurring within the community to feed the story.While the story was very engaging, it took nearly half of the book for the creep factor to set in for me. However, about 150 pages from the end of the novel, I was finding myself hearing weird sounds in the house, strange noises outside in the wind, etc., and that added to the feeling of the book. I felt as though I was in the story with the characters and experiencing the same things. All in all, this book was good and engaging. I found myself tearing through the book because I wanted to know what was going to happen next! I would suggest not reading this book alone or in the dark if you're prone to an overactive imagination!
arielfl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Growing up I have always had a particular fascination for the book Ghost Story sitting on my parents bookshelf. I was too young to read it when it came out but I liked to take it off the shelf and look at it on occasion. After all who could resist the title Ghost Story and not only that but it claimed to the be the scariest ghost story ever.Flash forward to my thirties. I meant to read this for the R.I.P. reading challenge held every year over at Stainless Steel Droppings. I had it all checked out from the library and was quite surprised to find that I couldn't get into it, like not at all. It went back largely untouched and I thought that was the end of my fascination with the book until I found it for $1 at my favorite used book store. Without the time constraints of having to have it back by a certain date, this could be the year I finally read it. Armed with the additional help of Wikipedia I embarked on the journey of at last completing my quest to read and finish Ghost Story.The plot is rather confusing until page 400 where everything is spelled out for you. The opening of the book was a complete turn off for me and that is why I didn't get through the first time. A character has kidnapped a young girl and is dragging her all over. It sounds rather perverted and you think the character is a possible pedophile and it isn't until the final pages of the book that you realize what the opening was. If I hadn't been consulting on Wikipedia I would probably have given up again but the plot synopsis helped me to see where the story was going. There are a lot of characters and time switching to keep up with. The core of the story is that there is a group of elderly gentleman who are all friends and who experienced something horrifying when they were young men. All of the rest of the book is tied to that. The most surprising thing that I realized is that the book isn't about ghosts at all. Who picked the title? Since the book was written in the 70's I don't think I am giving anything away here by saying the source of the evil is a shape shifting manitou aided by some reanimated zombies. The book ends on a cliff hanger and since it's been over thirty years since the book was written I guess it won't be resolved. Even though the book was difficult to get into I did enjoy it. I loved all of the 70's camp. Cocktail party anyone? I also learned to always carry a hat pin on you even if you don't wear a hat. Some of the characters actions were at times maddening. A lot of people didn't seem to mind facing the greatest evil ever known without any backup. Stupid, stupid Sears James. What were you thinking? And if I were facing said evil I would have taken along a lot more than one knife and an ax. This book had a lot of scary scenes in it but strangely enough they didn't terrify me like Those Across the River. I didn't get even one tiny nightmare from scenes such as the one where Elmer Scales kills his entire family with the aid of an ax. Reading about something is not as terrifying as watching it in a movie for me. With that in mind I did attempt to watch the movie based on this book on Netflix. It was made in the early 80's and the special effects are laughingly bad. I watched the first 15 minutes before turning it off. Somebody should remake the movie today and adhere it more closely to the book. To sum things up I am glad that I finally got to check this off my TBR list and it has whetted my appetite for more 70's horror, next up The Shining.
DChurch71 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for some time now, for some reason I always put off reading it, despite all the great reviews associated with it. The only other Straub book I have ever read was lost girl lost boy which I felt was subpar despite Stephen King¿s blurb that it was Straub¿s greatest work ever. That been said I finally started ¿Ghost Story¿ which everyone said was Straub¿s best and the best book ever about ghosts¿etc. etc. I have to say I had to force myself to read this book, normally I can read a book I am interested in a few days, this one took me about 12 days. It was very hard for me to get into, it was very wordy and a ton of dialogue which I don¿t mind if the dialogue is interesting. The characters with the exception of a few came across very flat and mundane. The story was dragged out over a snail¿s pace. And I am sure some will read this review and assume I didn¿t get it or couldn¿t understand the author setting the mood, which is not the case a great example of a book that sets a great mood is ¿the Shining¿ or ¿Hell House¿. The book did have some interesting parts that I enjoyed reading, it just took hundreds of pages to get to them. Overall I was disappointed, even if I read this back in 1980 I wouldn¿t have enjoyed it. This might be my last Peter Straub book, my wife is currently reading a Dark Matter, and is having the same issue stating how Straub drones on and on really about nothing at all with pointless dialogue.
Joybee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow, a definite must read for anyone who enjoys the horror/chiller genera. It starts slowly an a bit confusing, but everything ties together making it impossible to put down. While not scary this book is creepy and eerie making you ponder the fine line between dream and reality.The Chowder Society, a group of men in their sixties, who tell stories to each other, has lost a member to heart attack. It has been a year since his death and all feel guilty and are having nightmares. As the mystery surrounding his death unfolds secrets come to light and more people die. It is a race to find out who or what is behind the deaths and stop it, before the town is destroyed.
Milda-TX on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Picked this up because I read that Stephen King thinks it's one of the best horror stories ever, and it's, like, Halloween time, so what the heck. I tried, got bored but stuck with it, but 200 pages later I'm giving up and taking it back to the library.