The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer

by John Harwood
3.7 45

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Overview

The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

What evil lies within a family’s secret history? “A first-class creeper, a literary ghost story in the Victorian tradition” by the author of The Séance (The Boston Globe).
 
Timid, solitary librarian Gerard Freeman lives for just two things: his elusive pen pal, Alice, and a story he found hidden in his mother’s drawer years ago. Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at his mother’s role in a sinister crime. And as he discovers more of Viola’s chilling tales, he realizes that they might hold the key to finding Alice and unveiling his family’s mystery.
 
But upon returning to his ancestral home in England, Gerard finds that the stories-within-stories of his past begin to blur the lines between fact, fiction, and fantasy. They’re also driving him so deep into the dark that he might not be able to see what’s right in front of him until it’s too late.
 
“A haunting literary gothic” (Booklist) that has earned extraordinary critical acclaim, this novel is “a Victorian ghost story that honors the likes of Dickens and Henry James . . . A smart, stylish and mesmerizing book” (The Washington Post Book World).
 
“Intricate and engrossing. . . . One ghoulishly absorbing read.” —Entertainment Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547630427
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06/01/2005
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 166,010
File size: 711 KB

About the Author

John Harwood is the author of two previous novels of Victorian Gothic suspense Aside from fiction, his published work includes biography, poetry, political journalism and literary history. His acclaimed first novel, The Ghost Writer won the International Horror Guild’s First Novel Award. He lives in Hobart, Australia.

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Ghost Writer 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author has written a story within a story within a story creating a very clever tale. He provides many clues and gives vivid descriptions of people and houses and makes you feel you are actually participating in the story. I was sorry to come to the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never written a review on a book before, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this one. Harwood is a wonderful writer with a real talent for detail and suspense. Whenever I had to put the book down I couldn't wait to start again, actually looking forward to what would happen next. However, the ending left me flat. I know writers often like to leave something to the imagination, but this was really disappointing. I thought surely my copy of the book must have been missing a few pages. It's as if he had to hurry up and finish the book to meet his deadline. Perhaps I just missed the nuances of the story, but it just felt like a sequel needed to be written. If that were the case, I would purchase it in a heart beat, but there was no indication of that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the author's tongue in cheek allusions to Victorian literature. However, that same quality which made it unusual also led to a certain predictability. Nonetheless, the language is beautiful and surprisingly unselfconscious, considering the author imitates an older style of writing. Very enjoyable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book definitely had its good points. The characters had some depth and the mini-stories within the book were really good. It just wasn't the best book I've read. The plot was obvious to me early on. The probability that such a relationship between the main character and his penfriend is low. Overall, the writer painted a beautiful picture, it just wasn't a scene that appealed to me. It's a good book if you are bored and want to read something.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best book I have read in some time - enough to actually write a review! I put everything else on hold this morning just to finish the last 50 or so pages! Intriguing plot, believable characters and nailbiting suspense...You will not be bored! Great first effort - cannot wait for more from this author!
twagers More than 1 year ago
If you are searching for a book that is out of the ordinary.. You have found it. A mystery that pulls you in and keeps you wondering, wanting to push for more. I really enjoyed the writing style and prose. I still think of it sometimes. I went immediately and purchased his other read. Can't wait for his next one to come out! Hurry John. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really nice modern-day Gothic -- haunted houses, mysterious pasts, and lots of secrets. I loved the stories within the story effect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in the middle of reading it and am finding it to be very interesting and reminds me of an old story that fades into the present. The story is very good and woud recomend reading it, but thats only from what I have read so far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In his debut novel, John Harwood creates an eerily psychological horror story with a nod (and a wave) to Victorian literature. As the novel begins in Australia, young Gerard discovers hidden away in his mother's possessions a strange photograph and a book. His mother swoops down on him with fury, snatching the belongings from him and hiding them away where Gerard cannot find them, refusing to tell him of her past. Soon thereafter, he begins a secret correspondence with a crippled English girl named Alice, and her letters rescue him emotionally from the bleak surroundings in his Australian home. As he matures, he falls in love with Alice, who won't let him see her for fear he'll feel sorry for her. As he learns that the book his mother has hidden away contained a ghost story written by his grandmother Viola, which Harwood presents in full, Gerard confides even more deeply in Alice. Viola's lengthy - and thoroughly creepy - stories seem like separate entities until Gerard discovers some disturbing connections. Upon his mother's death, he sets out to England to finally meet up with his almost-healed Alice and to settle family matters. What he doesn't count on, however, is that nothing, not even his own senses, can be trusted. Even if the reader solves much of the mystery before it is revealed, the ending has all the force it should, thanks to Harwood's highly visual description and talent with suspense. Harwood does a marvelous job of embedding the mannered ghost stories within Gerard's story, and the stories-within-a-story works exceptionally well in his hands. The tales are so throat-grabbing by themselves that I forgot at times that they were but segments of the whole. The effect is truly eerie as details from them begin to surface in Gerard's plot. Because the author's debt to Henry James' THE TURN OF THE SCREW is obvious well before he makes reference to it, I wished he had just let the style and the allusions to speak for themselves instead of pointing them out. His acknowledgment of Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS is even less successful. I overlooked these lapses simply because I could not willingly put this novel aside. This is not Stephen King-type horror but something more elegant and literary. This moody, stylish debut will capture your imagination for hours at a time. Especially if you like creepiness, you'll love this tale of multiple hauntings and mystery.
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osaka More than 1 year ago
This book was way to confusing and slow.  I usually like to savor the words I'm reading, however, I found myself speed reading through the book, so that I could hurry and get to the end.  I didn't care for it.
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This book was recommended to me because I was jonesing for a ghost story. While it wasn't the ghost story I was hoping for, it was a dark, atmospheric tale about the darkness that can haunt the mind. The first third was a little slow, but the ending is solid and satisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chilling and smart ghost story.
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