Book review: Ghost Stories by M.R. James

Oh, what can I say? It was not as I expected, but when I read this collection, I was too young and unexperienced, so I did not know what to expect. Viewing M.R.James’s stories from my present standpoint, I’d say they are typical late-Victorian stuff. A lot of story, great details, too much musing and explanation – you know. It all means that there is some tediousness, the plots are heavyish, the dramatic flavours tend to get overdone. Some of the stories are really frightening, yet some are simply weird, and even romantically weird.
Overall, I would not recommend the book to an adult reader who is in search of sensation or horror. It will be an OK-reading for adolescents, though. Furthermore, adolescent readers will have a chance to expand their vocabulary and get practice in complicated writing style. That is something young people seem to lack today and it is strikingly reflected not only in their school writing, but also beyond that.