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Archive for the ‘Henry James’ Category

This is a fairly typical is or isn’t it supernatural story. Other is or isn’t it stories are The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I am, to put it mildly, not a fan of these kinds of stories. They play a coy guessing game with the reader that I find a bit condescending and tiresome. Henry James seems to have used the is or isn’t it trope as a way to write about ghosts without really writing ghost stories, which were not recognized as high literature. But I digress; I will have to devote a future entry entirely to Henry James and the problem of the literary ghost.
Despite my dislike of the is or isn’t it device, The Fair Hair of Ambrosine is an inoffensive, if unremarkable, little story. It takes place during the Reign of Terror period of the French Revolution. The main character, Claude, is a clerk of some kind, whose mistress was murdered two years before the story begins. He now finds himself plagued by nightmares about her death.
There are no readily apparent ghosts in this story; it’s more of a thriller with a supernatural tinge.
The writing is quite serviceable, with only a slight tendency to the artistic.

Spoilers after the jump

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