Read Old Man's Beard by H. Russell Wakefield Free Online
Book Title: Old Man's Beard|
The author of the book: H. Russell Wakefield
Edition: Geoffrey Bles
Date of issue: 1929
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.35 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.7
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HRW’s second collection contain several stories that should be treated as classics of supernatural (or, as the modern terminology goes: strange tales) literature, as well as several stories that have got deservedly consigned to oblivion. The contents of this e-version of that book, available to us courtesy the Ash Tree Press, are:
• A highly informative as well as analytical Introduction from Barbara Roden.
1. Old Man’s Beard: one of the finest and most terrifying stories of malevolent spectral manifestation, and HRW really surpasses himself in this story.
2. The Last to Leave: a rarity: benevolent ghost/ghostly affair from HRW’s pen, written with sympathy & conviction.
3. The Cairn: a brilliant story that goes beyond the usual tropes and ends with lots of disquieting questions that keeps popping to the mind’s surface.
4. Present At The End: another uncommon (from HRW’s perspective) story where an avid follower of blood-sports becomes passionately converted to the opposite cause and gets his reward as his own ghosts stop bothering him at last.
5. ‘Look Up There!’: an underrated and unappreciated jewel that is one of the best ‘haunting’ stories that I have EVER read, and is one of the best stories of this book.
6. ‘Written in Our Flesh’: a non-supernatural story with a protagonist whom every aspiring writer would be able to identify within themselves.
7. Blind Man’s Buff: one of the all-time greatest ghost stories that have been ever written. Period.
8. A Coincidence at Hunton: a predictable story ending predictably, but HRW is at his nastiest & wittiest best in describing the characters, and somehow those descriptions leave a more indelible mark than the story.
9. Nurse’s Tale: another very good story, and in his Jamesian-yet-not-quite-that way, HRW has produced one of his better works in this compact narrative.
10. The Dune: less of a ghost story, and more of a misogynist rant.
11. Unrehearsed: a chilling story of retribution.
12. A Jolly Surprise for Henri: another morbid & misogynist piece from HRW who seemed to have resorted to his reservoir of bitter thoughts to replenish the editorial requirements by this time.
13. The Red Hand: another non-supernatural and quite autobiographical piece, that is readable despite the associated bitterness.
14. Surprise Item: a competent story of amoral woman, immoral & murderous man, and vindictive ghosts, told as a report!
15. A Case of Mistaken Identity: a predictable story told competently, with the mounting tension and climax presented in a minimalist and yet effective way.
Overall, although this book pales somewhat in comparison with Wakefield’s gold standard (“They Return at Evening”), it is, nevertheless, a very-very superior collection containing some of the best stories belonging to this genre. Recommended.
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Read information about the authorHerbert Russell Wakefield was an English short story writer, novelist, publisher, and civil servant chiefly remembered today for his ghost stories.
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