23/06/2002

Ghosts (by Adrian Plass)

I do like Adrian Plass's writing. It's succinct, uses plenty of irony and other humour, and makes some excellent, thought-provoking points. He uses a wide variety of styles, too - from his brilliantly funny diaries to family fiction, and even a parable using an alien.

So I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a book entitled, simply, 'Ghosts'. It turns out to be a character-driven story based around a youth group reunion in a supposedly haunted house.

David, a Christian speaker, is invited to this reunion shortly after the death of his young wife. Five or six old friends join him, and in the evening they decide to let each other in on the secret of what they find most frightening. During the course of this, David begins to find the courage to go forward with his life.

I thought there was rather an excess of sentiment in this book, although in some places it was very moving, and that the whole was a little unlikely. Perhaps that shouldn't have mattered since most of Adrian Plass's novels are extremely unlikely, but in this the setting was realistic and the people not particularly caricatured, so I felt it unrealistic that they would suddenly start sharing their deepest secrets and fears after so many years of being completely out of touch.

It was very well-written, and I'm glad I read it, but it won't rank as one of my favourites.

Not currently in print in either the USA or UK, though sometimes found second-hand.

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