Do You Believe in Ghosts?

next lifeLike many people, I find ghost stories deliciously unsettling.  There is much to find unsettling in Howard Norman’s Next Life Might Be Kinder, beyond his protagonist’s nightly beach visits with his dead wife. Norman deftly keeps his readers off balance, throwing out nagging questions.  The couple at the heart of the book, newlyweds live in a classic Halifax hotel which seems an odd choice for Sam, a struggling writer and Elizabeth who is working on her doctoral dissertation focusing on an obscure English writer.  How well does this amorous couple really know each other? Why should a young woman in the 1970’s become obsessed with learning to dance the Lindy?  What hold does the odd bellman have on the dance instructor and on Elizabeth.? What is the significance of the 11 books that Elizabeth brings to the beach and arranges each evening? Much of the story is enhanced by Sam’s sessions with a psychiatrist, causing the reader to conclude that perhaps he is an unreliable narrator.  Timelessly creepy and haunting.

For more good ghost stories, read:

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffennegerher fearful sym

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupecouninvited

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas

More than You Know by Beth Gutcheon

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

 

 

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