Peter (Francis) Straub Jack Sullivan - Essay

Jack Sullivan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

According to Straub, he wrote Ghost Story out of a desire to "take the classic elements as far as they could go" in a contemporary setting. It is frequently worthy of its heritage, for when he wants to, Straub can write superb horror. Although the plot—involving the invasion of a small town by a demonic entity called "the shapeshifter"—is not exactly auspicious, many of the individual apparition scenes are frightening enough to jolt the most jaded ghost-story addict. There is a dream sequence set in an abandoned house, for example, that is simply hair-raising. The dread it conjures is cumulative and the climax it reaches has, like a revelation in a real dream, elements of both inevitability and surprise....

(The entire section is 632 words.)