intense sensations

The best cure for self-abuse

Posted on: November 18, 2011

High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost StoriesHigh Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Robertson Davies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my big regrets in life is that I haven’t read enough of Robertson Davies’s novels.

He is one of the writers I discovered for myself in my lonely journey towards literacy and, not knowing anything about him or the literary tradition to which he belonged, I found it very hard to prioritise his novels in my many long lists of books that I wanted and needed to read.

I discovered later that it’s because he’s Canadian. Ah, you see, we didn’t have WordPress when I began my long literary journey, and the English influences that I encountered were very parochial.

I should have had more confidence in my own judgement and relied less on English academic literary criticism. A lesson all students of literature should take to heart.

Luckily I can console myself for this neglect by picking up this slim volume of ghost stories and read one a year, which is how they were written.

They are hilarious. Hilarity is the best antidote to lugubrious literary self-abuse. The stories are also intensely literate and being able to understand the humour makes me feel unusually well-read.

Vanessa Wu has a new story out called Black Silk Blindfold

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