Here’s a ghost story for you. It was my first Oscar Wilde – and his, too. It was his first published story and if this was the start, I’m keen to get cracking on the plethora that followed.
I really enjoyed the pace and the wit employed throughout. Most importantly, I felt desperately sorry for his ghostly character who, despite his best efforts, costumes and haunted-laughter, can’t scare the Americans who have moved into Canterville Chase.
I wasn’t too thrilled by the ending – I guess I wanted a twist, which I realise I can’t just demand from every short story just because that’s how I like to write them. It’s very charming and the political undercurrents of Wilde’s views of British aristocracy are ripe, which a lot of Wilde’s work is renowned for. It’s probably on the cusp of the definition of an undercurrent, though – he’s a couple of sentences away from a full blown public service announcement. It’s reassuring to know that even a ghost can have an existential crisis, ya know?
More haunted reading material: