I love ghost stories so I was really looking forward to reading this anthology. Including a blend of old and new stories from East, South and Southwest Asia, this should have been right up my alley.
The introduction had me hooked but the stories themselves didn’t give me the scares I was looking for. For me, part of the problem was the order the stories were told in.
While it seems logical to order an anthology alphabetically by author, it meant I was sometimes reading multiple stories by one author, one after another; some began to feel repetitive. I think I would have gotten much more out of the stories if they’d been grouped by country, with introductions exploring the cultural and religious significance of the particular types of ghosts I’d be meeting in each section.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for the opportunity to read this anthology.
Once Upon a Blurb
Another deluxe edition of new writing and neglected perspectives. Asian ghosts – from India to Sri Lanka, China to Korea, Japan to the Philippines – can be both terrifying and comforting. Underpinned by strong cultural beliefs in the cycles of life and ancestor worship, the nature of Asian spirits differs from that of their counterparts in other areas of the world. The possibility is more instinctually accepted that ghosts remain with us, as part of the world, whether we can see them or not. Featured here are all kinds of stories from across East, South and Southeast Asia: classic weird tales by the likes of Pu Songling, Rabindranath Tagore, S Mukerji, Im Bang and Yi Ruk, Lafcadio Hearn and Yei Theodora Ozaki, are complemented by stories by Asian writers of today. An egui (the Chinese version of a ‘hungry ghost’) is exorcised, a vicious jiangshi (Chinese zombie-like revenant) is encountered in the night, a Bengali shakchunni (the ghost of an unsatisfied bride) poignantly seeks love with devastating effect, a family is haunted by vengeful Korean gwishin, and the iconic Japanese tragedies of Oiwa and O-Kiku are revisited.