Ghost Stories. ISBN 978-0-9951165-5-9. 99% Press. Auckland: Lasavia Publishing, 2019. 140 pp.
IntroductionThe Classic New Zealand Ghost Story
Leaves from a Diary of the End of the World
Is it Infrareal or is it Memorex?
General Grant in Paeroa
Kipling and the Cross-Correspondences
David Foster Wallace once wrote that 'every love story is a ghost story.' Not all of the stories in Jack Ross’s new collection are about love, but certainly all of them concern ghosts – imaginary, real, or entirely absent. As it turns out, there are even stranger things in the world: from haunted hotel rooms in Beijing to drunken poetry readings on Auckland’s North Shore. Or perhaps, as the Mayan prophets foresaw, the world really did end on the 21st December, 2012, and 'all bets are off, all the rules have changed, and – new Adams, new Eves – we have to find the courage somehow to start naming the strange new things we see.'
'There’s no one in New Zealand literature exploring the dark ways of narrative with the alchemical touch of Jack Ross, and his gift of spinning tales which jump "from track to track on the time-space continuum" never fails to leave me exhilarated, in outright awe'.
- Tracey Slaughter
Jack Ross works as a senior lecturer in creative writing at Massey University. He is the author of five poetry collections, four novels and three books of short fiction. His novel The Annotated Tree Worship was highly commended in the 2018 NZ Heritage Book Awards. He has also edited numerous books, anthologies, and literary journals, including brief, Landfall, and Poetry New Zealand. He blogs at http://mairangibay.blogspot.com/.
This is a set of ten short stories, with two essays: 'The Classic New Zealand Ghost Story,' an introduction to the collection as a whole; and 'Kipling and the Cross-Correspondences,' an account of the alleged attempts at communication from the other side by various dead members of the Society for Psychical Research in the early years of last century.
The stories, too, are grouped around the common theme of ghosts and ghost stories, but in some rather unexpected ways. Two ('The Scam' and 'The Cross-Correspondences') are set in China, but most are explorations of the haunted landscapes of the New Zealand's North Island, from Featherston and Eketahuna to Raglan and Northcote. All of them (with the exception of 'Paragraphs') have been previously published in periodicals or online.
This is my third collection of short stories, after Monkey Miss Her Now (13 stories - 2004) and Kingdom of Alt (7 stories and a novella - 2010).
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Reviews & Comments:
- Jenny Lawn, "Digest: Kudos, School retreat, communications with students, keeping hold of our students for 2020, and more" (September 26, 2019):
Jack published a new book in July, Ghost Stories (Lasavia Publishing). It’s a fun, quirky read.