A Gathering of Ghost Stories

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My husband picked up Robertson Davies’s A Gathering of Ghost Stories on a whim, primarily because of the cover art. It appears to show a rather smug man (possibly a dwarf?) playing the lute. Ethan’s idea was to turn it into a “I see what you did there…” meme.

Equally on a whim, and because it’s October, I decided I should actually read it. It’s only about 60 pages, after all – and since it’s pocket-size, they’re tiny pages. The whole book is only about 4 short stories long.

To my surprise, this was not a collection of scary stories. It was a collection of ghost stories, yes, but they weren’t scary – not even trying to be. Apparently, Robertson Davies was a founding Master of Massey College (attached to the University of Toronto), and these stories were told at Christmas parties, as entertainment.

I’ve never really understood the whole Christmas ghost story thing. Maybe it’s because in my home, there was a sharp difference between scary and religious: Dad had Halloween, and Mom had Christmas. But when you think about it, I guess both religions involve raising the dead.

I digress. Davies’s ghost stories are hilarious. I’m certain they would have been even more hilarious for the audience at hand; I can tell there are inside jokes I’m not getting. But even without any inside experience in Massey College, these lighthearted tales are well-constructed, incredibly funny, and worth the time. I recommend picking up a copy (and using the lute-playing image as a meme) before Christmastime. ♦

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