Excellent review of Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories has appeared on the review website Thirteen O’Clock.
The reviewer was Andrew J. McKiernan. After declaring the book itself to be a work of art, he makes some interesting observations about the content.
“Not all tales are ‘Ghost Stories’ in the M.R. Jamesian sense, though the style is well represented, and not all are as obvious as others. Indeed some I would hesitate to call ghost stories at all, but definitely agree with the repeated use of the term ‘Haunted’ in each of the six sections that divide the book — HAUNTED PLACES, HAUNTED FAMILIES, HAUNTED MINDS, HAUNTED YOUTH, HAUNTED VENGEANCE, HAUNTED REALITIES — because many of the characters are haunted not by ghosts, but their pasts and by places and in some cases haunted even by themselves. But all the characters are indeed haunted in various ways and I found this link between the stories much stronger than any offered by the presence of mere spirits from beyond the grave.”
One reason I found this heartening is that it mirrors what I intended by including stories that don’t contain traditional ghosts and in giving the sections these particular thematic titles. A while back I saw a comment to the effect that the divisions were rather gimmicky and unnecessary, so to have a more insightful response by a reviewer helps to quash the nagging possibility that I was kidding myself in the first place.
In pointing out his favourite stories McKiernan gives a nod to the first story, “Necropolis”, describes “Grandma and the Girls” (1989) as “a strange but pleasing blend of Robert Aickman and Flannery O’Connor”, and gives the Highlight of the Book prize to ‘Kulpunya’, “where the beauty and horror of Australia’s outback are rendered in exquisite prose more than worthy of the ancient spirits Hood evokes. Indeed, with many of the stories, it is the strong Australian ‘sense of place’ that makes them most satisfying”.
“Kulpunya” is definitely one of my favourites, so no argument there.