The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories (Hardcover)
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Ghost stories tap into our most primal emotions as they encourage us to confront the timeless question: What comes after death? Here, in tales that are by turn scary, funny, philosophic, and touching, you’ll find that question sharpened, split, reconsidered—and met with a multitude of answers.
A spirit who is fated to spend eternity reliving the exact moment she lost her chance at love, ghostly trees that haunt the occupant of a wooden house, specters that snatch anyone who steps into the shadows, and parakeets that serve as mouthpieces for the dead: these are just a few of the characters in this extraordinary compendium of one hundred ghost stories. Kevin Brockmeier’s fiction has always explored the space between the fantastical and the everyday with profundity and poignancy. As in his previous books, The Ghost Variations discovers new ways of looking at who we are and what matters to us, exploring how mysterious, sad, strange, and comical it is to be alive—or, as it happens, not to be.
About the Author
KEVIN BROCKMEIER is the author of the memoir A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip; the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia; the story collections The Ghost Variations, Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer; and the children’s novels City of Names and Grooves: A Kind of Mystery. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was raised.
"A teeming throng of stories in miniature in my favorite mode by one of my favorite writers. Brockmeier's ghosts range from the wistful to the terrifying—I could only wish that there were one hundred more.”
—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“The Ghost Variations is pure Kevin Brockmeier—lush and playful and devastating and brilliant; a haunted hotel with a hundred rooms and a hundred doors, behind which lie a hundred perfect and terrifying dioramas. It's been ages since I've been this profoundly sated by a story collection, and I loved every minute of it.”
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“The Ghost Variations is a haunted jukebox sparkling in the shadows, built to house a hundred voices, a hundred gorgeous songs. Each one is a masterpiece in miniature from one of our greatest writers, by turns funny and philosophical, chilling and warm. Like a palmful of smelling salts, these very short stories will wake you up. Only Kevin Brockmeier could write ghost stories that make a reader feel so alive.”
—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories
“In Kevin Brockmeier’s The Ghost Variations, the familiar poetry of life gives way to uncanny wonder and startling discoveries, leaving the reader constantly unsettled, as if we found a room in a house where none had been before or woke in the night to a figure standing at the bottom of the bed. There might be a hundred stories in this collection, but there are a million reasons to love Brockmeier, one of literature’s greatest living talents, who writes sentences like spells and who elegantly phases between the walls of literary and genre fiction.”
—Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon