Title: Guestbook: Ghost Stories
Author: Leanne Shapton
Publisher: Particular Books, Penguin UK
Genre: Literary Fiction, Ghost stories
Leanne Shapton is one of those writers that just does her thing without caring about how it would be received by readers, and the world at large. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I am a fan. Her books are out of the ordinary for sure, and honestly not all that much as well, given the broader themes of emotions and social issues. Even a collection of ghost stories is so much more.
This book is like any other Shapton book, that being unpredictable and out of the ordinary. Some of the stories are regular and some of them aren’t so regular after all. These hauntings could be of anything – current relationships, past relationships, houses that are haunted, memories that are taken over and in possession – each story haunting us as we go along life, and more so in times such as these.
From a tennis player who breaks down after every win (you will know why when you read it) to the different versions of how people viewed the iceberg that sank the Titanic (there also is a story within the story), to pictures of the foot of beds and what stories come from there, each story is creepy, eerie, sometimes heartbreaking even, but mostly making you jump out of your skin just a little bit.
The book is also unusually and beautifully produced. The stories are layered with photographs, drawings, floor plans, Instagram-style portraits, and is about everyday incidents, observations, wordplay, and how time seems to be of essence or not. Time passes in that sense and is at the crux – as it should be for ghost stories.
All in all, please read Guestbook: Ghost Stories to experience and read something different. I cannot recommend it enough.