Monday, 11 January 2010

Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair

Uncanny Stories (Mystery & Supernatural S.) (Mystery & Supernatural) Synopis from back cover: May Sinclair was an innovator of modern fiction, a late Victorian who was also a precursor to Virginia Woolf. In her Uncanny Stories (1923), Sinclair combines the traditional ghost story with the discoveries of Freud and Einstein. The stories shock, enthral, delight and unsettle.

Two lovers are doomed to repeat their empty affair for the rest of eternity... A female telepath is forced to face the consequences of her actions... The victim of a violent murder has the last laugh on his assailant... An amateur philosopher discovers that there is more to Heaven than meets the eye.

Specially included in this volume is 'The Intercessor' (1911), Sinclair's powerful story of childhood and abandoned love, a tale whose intensity compares with that of the Brontës.
My Thoughts: This book contains eight short stories and an introduction by Paul March-Russell.
The introduction is mostly an analysis of the stories in the book, and would have probably made more sense to me if I'd read it after I'd finished the book.

“Where their Fire is not Quenched” is about two lovers who are having an empty affair and end up having to spend eternity repeating it. I found this story a bit confusing as it jumps through the years quite quickly. It was a bit dull really, just like their affair.

“The Token” is about a man who can’t express his love for his wife, so when she dies she comes back to find out if he really loved her. I enjoyed this story.

“The Flaw in the Crystal” is about a telepathic healer who finds it hard when the person she is healing finds out that she is the one keeping him healthy. This story was ok, but it was dragged out too long in my opinion.

“The Nature of the Evidence” is about a man who takes a new wife after his first wife dies. When he tries to go to his new wife’s bedroom he is visited by the ghost of his old wife.

“If the Dead Knew” is about a man who wishes his mother would hurry up and die, and she does.

“The Victim” is a murder story. A chauffeur murders his master and is then haunted by what he has done. I really liked this story.

“The Finding of the Absolute” is the story of an amateur philosopher who goes to heaven. Some of the ideas of heaven are interesting, but there were too many scientific explanations in this story and I found it confusing.

“The Intercessor” is a haunting story of a house haunted by a little girl who is looking for the love of her mother. This was my favourite story in the whole book, it was quite spooky.

Overall I enjoyed about half of the stories in the book, the other half I found a bit dull.

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