When I started this book it reminded me so much of and old movie I had seen. The more I read I was like I know what’s going to happen next. I almost gave up on this book then I googled it to confirm the movie was based on this book. I am so glad I did not give up on this book. As with any book to movie situation the book was so much better, and filled in some plot hole the movie had. This book and pretty much everything I’ve read by Peter Straub is worth reading. I haven’t found a book by him yet that I didn’t love. Once I start reading his books I can’t put them down.
Is, and has since I first read it, been, among the best stories I’ve read. Amazing characters & development of those characters. When the movie came out Fred Astaire, John Houseman, & Douglas Fairbanks seemed perfect choices for part of the Chowder Society, but the screenplay was not the novel, the movie was not the book, and Hollywood wasted paper & celluloid. With the new series formats & special effects, both visual and audio, & the right writing team who love this story as much as readers do; well, it would be great to see that effort.
For those of you who have not heard of Peter Straub, or perhaps never read anything by him, (no those collaborations with Stephen King don’t count; Stephen King will tell you himself that he’s not as talented of a storyteller as Peter Straub). First I have to quickly address the insanity I just read in one of just two written reviews on this novel in the iBooks store, (the person let the novel go soaring over their head and they were SO close to understanding what metafiction is & how Straub used common horror tropes or cliches that we all know about since authors like King have made their careers on them but I digress...). I also find it impossible to believe that over 700 people have rated this novel on iBooks, yet I’m the THIRD person to write a few words about it? Either iBooks is deeply sensitive to what people say in a written review and remove them, or only a dozen or so people have actually rated this book on iBooks but due to its world wide acclaim & the fact that Peter Straub has more literary awards, including a many lifetime achievement awards and others for his ability to write outside of one genre, including some amazing poetry collections, so iBooks fudged the numbers to make it appear like 700 people have bought, read, and rated this book on their digital platform...again, I digress, but this is HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS, and to only have two visible customer ratings here would be like Metacritic, IMDb, or Rottentomatoes claiming 700 critics rated one of the best genre works of all time, however just 2 of them submitted a written review – oh and 1 of the 2 is so obviously not able to understand more challenging concepts than the stuff found in a Tyler Perry or Michael Bay movie. If you’ve read GHOST STORY, and I mean actually considered what the information that was repeatedly being given to you over several hundred pages meant & what the author wants you to feel since he obviously arranged everything the way he wanted it - so if you’re seeing countless names that all sound the same or have the same initials etc., ALL YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO UNDERSTAND from this technique is that the author uses them to keep you constantly off-balance and totally uncertain as to what will happen on the next page; *this* is one of countless techniques you’ll find in Straub’s classic, “Ghost Story.” I apologize for ranting about how completely lost reviewer on here instead of telling you about this book, but the bottom line is that you will not know what I’m talking about or why I feel strongly over all this until you READ IT FOR YOURSELF. The book has 3 “parts” – prologue and epilogue as well - but it could have just been published without the three act intervals with those 3 extra pages that bookend the different sections of the narrative. I think the publisher most likely knew that it would be easier for readers to trust the author with that kind of formatting, as the book is almost a thousand pages and in 1979 when it came out no one knew who Peter Straub was, so the story had to seem more accessible; I guess thats all it takes because it worked. Every person who has read this book says the same thing: “My first reading of this book, I thought the first part was going so slow, but then when I got to the second and third parts, everything was suddenly going so fast that I had no clue how it would end!” So yeah, enjoy the first third of the novel. Get comfortable with the protagonists and the town of Milburn. USE YOUR DIGITAL COPY TO HIGHLIGHT RECURRING OR SIMILAR NAMES AND CHARACTERS AT ALL TIMES wink wink nudge nudge. Oh, and did I mention this book is shockingly hysterical? Straub takes several swings at what the horror literature landscape had become back in the late ‘70’s, and it’s no coincidence that the protagonists/main characters of this massive story are literally the only people out of their entire world that enjoy getting together and telling each other NEW, CREATIVE, UPSETTING, EXPERIMENTAL forms of horror tales. Gee, golly, are there people in life who love sharing horror stories with others, and maybe they write them down, and get someone to distribute all the copies to the world? Hey, I think Peter Straub, that brilliant writer with all those awards and accolades does that! I wonder if there are any other people like him out there that I don’t know about...there can’t be more than just Stephen King novels when it comes to horror novels, right???
Bank of America_Knoxville
This has been one of the best novels I've read in a long time; an excellent read!
The writing is great, but the book is so long winded that you end up plowing through hundreds of pages wishing for some payoff. There are a million characters with similar names and you find that you waste a lot of time focusing on trivial details because the important ones are not plain to see. I would not recommend this to an enemy.