Wednesday 13 May 2015

Book Review: Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

Title: Gothic Tales
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Publisher: Penguin Classics

Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 367
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Source: Bought Copy
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Elizabeth Gaskell's chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. 'Disappearances', inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; 'Lois the Witch', a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in 'The Old Nurse's Story' a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as 'The Poor Clare', where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman's bitter curse, or mischievous like 'Curious, if True', a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell's novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Gothic Tales was an enjoyable read; however, I had expected the stories to be a little more chilling and captivating than they were. Perhaps it is merely a generational thing, where we take more to be scared now than the time these tales were penned, but I certainly did not experience even the slightest shiver. Also neither the characters nor the settings really jumped out at me.
Interesting as a review of the development of Gothic literature, but I would recommend looking elsewhere if it is a truly spooky tale you are after.

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