Complete Ghost Stories

By Charles Dickens

Rating: 3 stars

Containing all of Dickens’ ghost stories, the stories in this volume are mostly fairly short, although there are two longer stories: the famous A Christmas Carol and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain. While the former of those two novellas is a joy to read, I found the latter curiously difficult. I’m not sure why, but it was a struggle to get through. I found it dense, the characters uninteresting and the language leaden.

As for the other stories, they were a bit of a mixed bag. There were some lovely ones in there, including The Signalman, A Child’s Dream of a Star and the humorous The Lawyer and the Ghost.

The Goblins Who Stole a Sexton feels a little like a trial run for A Christmas Carol, with a humbug-laden sexton being taught to be charitable by supernatural creatures. Some of the stories have lost their power over the years, some are just plain weird and I really didn’t get The Haunted House which spent a huge amount of time on set-up, and then concluded in a few paragraphs, having completely ignored the carefully constructed situation of the house and the friends who had gathered within it.

This volume is worth it for A Christmas Carol and A Child’s Dream of a Star alone, but I fear that Dickens was no M.R. James.

Book details

ISBN: 9781853267345
Publisher: Wordsworth Classics
Year of publication: 1989

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