Hauntings

Hauntings

Vernon Lee

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

Hauntings is a collection of supernatural short-stories that remains on the threshold between the fantastic and the psychological. Perhaps ghosts and strange forces do exist here, but they?re always invited by the obsessions, hatreds and passions of the living. In the first story, Amour Dure, a historian researching Medieval Italy falls in love with the portrait of a Machiavellian woman and becomes the means to carry on a centuries-old revenge. In Dionea, a mysterious little girl cast ashore is taken in by Catholic nuns, but her pagan ways prevent her from adjusting. The longest story, Oke of Okehurst, concerns a woman whose obsession for family history brings about a tragedy. In the final story, A Wicked Voice, a musician scoffs at an 18th century singer who may have made a deal with the Devil to receive his talent, and starts hearing his voice wherever he goes. The role of women and the danger of the past are recurrent motifs in these stories: in Amour Dure, we read the life story of one Medea da Carpi, a schemer who tried to kill her way to power and sacrificed her lovers one by one to get it. In The Wicked Voice the protagonist takes us to the music of the 18th century; apart from the unusual idea of haunting someone through a ghost voice, this story seemed the weakest one to me.
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