Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top ten (unconventional) ghosts in literature

Judith Claire Mitchell is the author of the novels The Last Day of the War and A Reunion of Ghosts. She teaches undergraduate and graduate fiction workshops at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is a professor of English and the director of the MFA program in creative writing. She has received grants and fellowships from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and Bread Loaf, among others. She lives in Madison with her husband, the artist Don Friedlich, and Josie the West Highland White Terrier.

At the Guardian Mitchell tagged ten of the best (unconventional) ghosts--"they may not necessarily scare, but they manage to haunt, long after the pages have been turned"--in literature, including:
Beloved in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

The ghost in Beloved is the most conventional ghost I’ve listed, and yet Morrison writes in a manner that makes us see ghosts and a familiar world of unfathomable suffering as if we’ve never seen them before. A fictional horror story based on a historical horror story (a desperate act of matricide caused by the more horrific institution of American slavery), the book also illustrates King’s point: Morrison’s ghosts are manifestations of her character’s past choices.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Beloved also appears on Kelly Link's list of four books that changed her, a list of four books that changed Libby Gleeson, The Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Elif Shafak's top five list of fictional mothers, Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten great books you didn't know were science fiction or fantasy, Peter Dimock's top ten list of books that challenge what we think we know as "history", Stuart Evers's top ten list of homes in literature, David W. Blight's list of five outstanding novels on the Civil War era, John Mullan's list of ten of the best births in literature, Kit Whitfield's top ten list of genre-defying novels, and at the top of one list of contenders for the title of the single best work of American fiction published in the last twenty-five years.

Coffee with a Canine: Judith Claire Mitchell & Josie.

The Page 69 Test: A Reunion of Ghosts.

--Marshal Zeringue