The Ghost Variations by Kevin Brockmeier

How do you feel about short stories? I used to devour them when I was in high school. A Perfect Day for Bananafish by JD Salinger and The Fat Girl by Andre Dubus were my first short stories I fell in love with. Yes, I’m weird. It was the psychology of those stories that captured my attention and had me thinking about them for years to come. A book on short stories about ghosts? Now, that’s my kind of book!

Thank you Knopf Doubleday Publishing for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: 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.

This was such a refreshing read. I really looked forward to picking this up whenever I had a free minute to read a short story. The stories are really short, so it’s one of those books that’s really fun to come back to and get lost in it for a moment. If you love ghost stories or stories about what it means to be human, you will love this book. It will leave you tearful and joyful in all the best ways possible.

5/5 Stars

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