Reviews

‘Christine Poulson’s wonderful sense of place brings Cambridge to life. Cassie overcomes the problems facing her with wit and guile aplenty and ensures the reader’s empathy from first word to last . . . an enthralling and engaging read that underlines Christine’s burgeoning reputation as a crime novelist to watch.’ [Stage Fright]

- SHOTS MAGAZINE

Be afraid . . .

Posted on Oct 30, 2020 in Strangers, Taichi Yamada, The New Abject | 6 Comments

It’s nearly Halloween so now seems a good time to review an absolutely cracking ghost story, Strangers (1987), by Japanese writer, Taichi Tamada. It is a novella and can easily be read in a couple of hours. The narrator, a middle-aged scriptwriter, divorced, disillusioned, takes a sentimental journey to the Toyko suburb where he grew up and where his parents both died when he was twelve. He meets a man and a woman who closely resemble his dead parents at the age when they died. He returns again and again for the comfort of being with them, but things are not what they seem – in more ways than one . . . The end is, frankly, terrifying. The novel is a little like The Turn of the Screw in its use of a possibly unreliable narrator and rivals it in scariness, but it’s also a touching exploration of love and loss and grief. I first read it years ago and it’s a story that has stayed with me.

I’ve been visiting the dark side myself recently and my short story, ‘Teeth and Hair,’ appears in The New Abject: Tales of Modern Unease, published yesterday by Comma Press. I managed to scare myself writing this! I hope it’ll do the same for readers.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Margot Kinberg
    October 30, 2020

    Oh, Christine, this does sound really creepy (and I mean that in a good way). It’s so interesting, too, how such stories are each a little different depending on the culture. I haven’t been reading much Japanese fiction lately, so this is a good reminder to me that it’s out there waiting…

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      October 30, 2020

      It really is very good, Margot. Yes, there is a tradition of ghost and horror stories in Japanese culture that I think this draws on.

      Reply
  2. C'rysta Winter
    October 31, 2020

    To put oneself in fear while writing.The power of the imagination …

    As a child, my grandfather gave me a book of fairy tales with stories from all over the world. Oriental, Greek, Icelandic, Moravian … All of them mystical and eerie in a way that reminds me of surreal dreams. I picked it out of the bookcase and it is lying beside me at this moment. And as soon as I opened it, this feeling of childhood came back. Fascination and fear in equal parts. A mixture that is irresistible.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      November 2, 2020

      Those books that we read in childhood and the feeling that they induce stay with us forever!

      Reply
  3. Moira@Clothes in Books
    November 15, 2020

    Yes I have read this and found it terrifying: it is beautifully written and constructed and creates such an atmosphere of un-ease. A memorable book.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      November 16, 2020

      Yes, it’s moving too, his desire to be with his dead parents. It touches, I think, on something universal.

      Reply

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