The Ghost Sequences is A.C. Wise’s collection of short stories. Most of these have been published somewhere previously, such as magazines or anthologies (there is a complete list at the end of the book), but they all have one thing in common; they’re all based on the theme of “ghost”. When I went into this book I was expecting a certain type of collection, namely hauntings because after all that is what a ghost story is, right? By the time you’ve finished The Ghost Sequences you’ll realise like me that there is so much more to that theme, to the word ghost that we already know, yet we don’t really consider.
Wise has considered it, at great length and the title of this short story collection, “The Ghost Sequences” is perfect. If I was reviewing this book simply based on literally and creative licence I would give this a five-star rating, however, I’m not reviewing it in a critical or academic way. I’m reading it as a reader, and from that perspective I felt that some of the stories missed their mark for me personally. On the one hand, I loved the ways Wise was experimenting with writing, on the other I just didn’t connect with it as a reader.
For example, ‘The Last Sailing of the “Henry Charles Morgan” in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)’ is a story told through museum pieces that have been curated. As the daughter and granddaughter of two men who loved nautical history, this brought back a lot of great memories of walking through nautical museums with them. Likewise, as an Art History, and Information and Library graduate, I appreciated the way Wise chose to use history and information to tell her story. However, something fell flat in the actual story telling. A+ for effort and imagination, but in execution there was just something missing.
In comparison, a later story in The Ghost Sequences, ‘How to Host a Haunted House Murder Mystery Party‘ is another unconventional piece by Wise and hit the spot perfectly for me. The thing about short story collections and anthologies is that not everything will resonate with every reader, and that’s ok. There are some fantastic stories in here, and the way that Wise draws out the true meaning of what “ghost” means, of what being “haunted” means, will keep you thinking for a long time. The Ghost Sequences is a lot like the cover of this book; you won’t look at it the same way once you’ve seen it.
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