The author of the acclaimed novel The Brief History of the Dead now gives us one hundred funny, poignant, scary, and thought-provoking ghost stories that explore all aspects of the afterlife.
A spirit who appears in a law firm reliving the exact moment she lost her chance at love, a man haunted by the trees cut down to build his house, nefarious specters that snatch anyone who steps into the shadows in which they live, and parakeets that serve as mouthpieces for the dead--these are just a few of the characters Kevin Brockmeier presents in this extraordinary compendium of spectral emanations and their wildly various purposes in (after) life. These tales are by turns playful, chilling, and philosophical, paying homage to the genre while audaciously subverting expectations. The ghosts in these pages are certain to haunt you well after you've closed the book.
About the Author
KEVIN BROCKMEIER is the author of the novels The Ghost Variations, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia; the story collections Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer; and the children's novels City of Names and Grooves: A Kind of Mystery. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He has published his stories in such venues as The New Yorker, The Georgia Review, McSweeney's, Zoetrope, Tin House, The Oxford American, The Best American Short Stories, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and New Stories from the South. He has received the Borders Original Voices Award, three O. Henry Awards (one, a first prize), the PEN USA Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Grant. In 2007, he was named one of Granta magazine's Best Young American Novelists He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and he lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was raised.
"A teeming throng of stories in miniature in my favorite mode by one of my favorite writers. Brockmeier's ghosts range from the wistful to the terrifying—I could only wish that there were one hundred more.” —Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“The Ghost Variations is pure Kevin Brockmeier—lush and playful and devastating and brilliant; a haunted hotel with a hundred rooms and a hundred doors, behind which lie a hundred perfect and terrifying dioramas. It's been ages since I've been this profoundly sated by a story collection, and I loved every minute of it.” —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“The Ghost Variations is a haunted jukebox sparkling in the shadows, built to house a hundred voices, a hundred gorgeous songs. Each one is a masterpiece in miniature from one of our greatest writers, by turns funny and philosophical, chilling and warm. Like a palmful of smelling salts, these very short stories will wake you up. Only Kevin Brockmeier could write ghost stories that make a reader feel so alive.” —Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories
“In Kevin Brockmeier’s The Ghost Variations, the familiar poetry of life gives way to uncanny wonder and startling discoveries, leaving the reader constantly unsettled, as if we found a room in a house where none had been before or woke in the night to a figure standing at the bottom of the bed. There might be a hundred stories in this collection, but there are a million reasons to love Brockmeier, one of literature’s greatest living talents, who writes sentences like spells and who elegantly phases between the walls of literary and genre fiction.” —Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon