Cover Image: The Ghost Variations

The Ghost Variations

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Member Reviews

**I was provided an electronic ARC by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.**

Kevin Brockmeier brings a plethora of ghost stories in the anthology The Ghost Variations. Brockmeier further divides the anthology into similar themes, which made for a pleasant reading experience. 

My issues with this book are very similar to my issues with just about every anthology; some stories you'll love, some you won't care about, and some you may actively dislike. All in all, that produces a middle ground feeling for the collection as a whole. I do like the way that Brockmeier split up the collection by theme, and do enjoy his writing style in general. 

My personal recommendation is for readers to enjoy this book a story or two at a time to allow the stories to have full impact. I actually read the book all the way through at once which led to an awkward muddle of stories which likely decreased my enjoyment in the end.

I did enjoy the work overall, and would be interested in more works by this author.
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The Ghost Variations turned out to be an interesting read for me, mainly because I'm so mixed on my feelings. This book is a collection of short ghost stories; one hundred of them, to be exact. Having that many stories in the collections means that they really are SHORT stories - only a couple of pages each.

The book is broken down into chapters, such as Ghosts and Memory, Ghosts and Nature, Ghosts and Love and Friendship, with each section containing several stories that fit the theme. 

The writing is lyrical, atmospheric, and beautiful, and the stories vary from touching to scary to heartfelt to funny. The most intriguing stories, I felt, fell under the Ghosts and Nature chapter, including the saddest - and my personal favorite - "Elephants."

That being said, each story was so short that I rarely felt satisfied when I finished them. Almost every story felt like it ended abruptly and left me wanting more. I do like that we see so many different variations of the ghost story theme, some of which are very original, but I wish they were longer and more gratifying.

This is a great book to have when you have ten or fifteen minutes to kill, but doesn't really work for me as a sit-down-and-read-for-a-while book. I've never read anything by Kevin Brockmeier before, but based on the prose alone I can't wait to pick up some other titles by this author!
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This is a wildly mixed bag. Not for sustained, silent reading, but more for snack reading. So short,  each tale is like a ghost story potato chip. Bet you can't read just one.
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Kevin Brockmeier is gifted, both with prose and a perspective I find fascinating. The range of ideas presented in these 100 stories is so broad, yet I found almost all of them extremely entertaining. Several of them left me staring at the final words in awe of just how thought-provoking such a short tale can be when executed by a master of the form. 

Some may wonder why it took me two months to read a book I enjoyed so much. The truth is, I only allowed myself a few stories at a time because I wanted to make it last.

I truly hope Brockmeier expands a few of these awesome ideas into full length stories, but even if that never happens I’m thrilled I got them in this form.
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Beware, these ghost stories are REALLY short !

I dove in this book expecting spooky reads, chills going down my spine and so on ! In fact, it was a bit cleverer than that. We get stories about ghosts, and mostly about normal people who turned into ghosts, both physically or mentally. I thought it nice to explore all the aspects of how people can be ghosts, and what ghosts could actually do IRL, instead of just exploring the traditional representation of ghosts.

Some stories were really deep and meaningful, which I found impressing. However, since I expected a spooky book, I didn't connect much with the more philosophical stories. I must admit this isn't only due to the themes. It's also because the plots are so short ! Every story is less than 5 pages (on Kindle, I don't have the reference for the physical copies), which made me unable to engage emotionnaly with approximately 75% of them. Add to that the fact that I didn't understand all the stories and you get a quite confused Jade !

That being said, I thought the author's writing style was fabulous. I should probably look into his other works if he has any. Even though I couldn't connect with all stories, some of them were so well written I managed to dive in their little world within the 5 pages, which is pretty hard to do !
I also really liked the fact that the book and the stories are divided by theme. You get an "animals" theme, a "creepy" theme, etc. If there are some topics you don't like, you can skip them ! Every theme and story is detailed in an index at the end of the book, so it's really practical !

This could be a read for you if you don't want to engage in a big book, with a looooooooong plot. Here, everything is short and efficient. With so many differents themes in the book, you're bound to find something you like. There's something for everyone, and every taste !
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I was not sure what I was going to get when I first chose this book. I half expected a bunch of little horror stories and that is not what I got. I am so happy about that! The 100 little stories are written in such beautiful prose that you are instantly swept off into this world of ghosts. I loved all of the stories of the ghosts and I loved the mix of genres throughout the tales.
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I love short stories. However this one was so hard to read. The stories were too short and the stories just ended so abruptly I had to stop to make sure I didn’t miss something more than once. A good majority were not even scary. Very disappointed.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This is a beautiful book. I haven't read anything like it before, in fact. This is a book created with numerous short ghost stories, and I mean short- 3-4 pages total apiece on average. They are grouped by themes. The imagination required to create all these ghost stories is stunning. The stories are told from the perspective of people who die and find themselves as ghosts, people who have been ghosts for eternity, the living who perceive ghosts; you see all kinds of variation on what the afterlife may be. Honestly, I couldn't read this whole book in one go; I put it down and came back to it after awhile because short stories aren't normally my thing, and there are no cliffhangers to keep the pages turning. But the prose, to me, is almost more like poetry and philosophy than straight narrative. A truly enjoyable read.
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If we go by The Ghost Variations, perhaps the afterlife is not so different from life; perhaps ghost carry with them the same frustrations, longings, absurdity, or dignity. Kevin Brockmeier tells us 100 campfire stories that are unequivocal talking about something else. The reader cannot help but wonder who the real ghosts are, them or us?
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NetGalley ARC

These super short ghost stories are brilliant for reading in short bursts and during period of low concentration. The brevity of the stories allows ideas to be explored that might burst like a soap bubble in a longer narrative. 

The stories are in turn terrifying, heartwarming and perplexing (in a good way)..

I'm halfway through and have not found a duff story. It is ideal for examining issues around death and the afterlife and I will definitely finish this
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The Ghost Variations: One hundred -Haunted- Stories 
A ghost story for every mood and every aspect of the afterlife. 👻  This book is really fun and whimsical. Some stories may lack some backbone while others stay with you long after the last page. Some of them introduce very touching and even haunting ideas, in their own way. My only minor edit would be that the book could be shorter without missing any of its overall value. 
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review 
#TheGhostVariations #NetGalley
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Quirky and fun book of short ghost stories. And, by that I mean stories with ghosts as the characters. Most are not scary or horror. They evoke all the feelings in small bursts (the book contains 100 short fiction stories).
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What a fun little book, I love all the ghost stories. Some are scary, a little, some are thoughtful and some are funny but they are an unusual type of ghosts. 
I read a few at a time and not before bed and found I wish there were more. Well written 100 short stories.
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This is a pretty good collection of short ghost stories. It's a quick read and I didn't put it down until I was finished it.
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A lovely collection of flash-length fictions about, well, ghosts. A hundred of 'em, to be exact. Split into sections and titled individually, the stories never go out of their way to surprise or shock -- instead, they sometimes hold a small smile, a little gasp, a knowing nod, and that's all. This is one of those books that I can imagine plucking down from my shelves with frequency as the years go by, reading a random ghost or three when the mood strikes. A delight, a simple delight.
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I thought I'd got a handle on what the book would involve, just from the description.  Wrong! An absolutely engaging tale, full of twists and turns an d you reach the end wishing there was another 100 pages to go.  Excellent!
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I read The Brief History of the Dead 12 years ago and still fondly remember it which made me want to read The Ghost Variations. I enjoyed finding out that the afterlife seems to still be a big theme in Kevin Brockmeiers writing. These Ghost stories are fun, sad, scary, puzzling and beautiful, I liked how they were grouped in different categories like Ghosts and Nature, Ghosts and Friendship etc. But you can just pick up this lovely collection and just read a story whenever the mood strikes you.
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A lovely collection of flash-length fictions about, well, ghosts. A hundred of 'em, to be exact. Split into sections and titled individually, the stories never go out of their way to surprise or shock -- instead, they sometimes hold a small smile, a little gasp, a knowing nod, and that's all. This is one of those books that I can imagine plucking down from my shelves with frequency as the years go by, reading a random ghost or three when the mood strikes. A delight, a simple delight.
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These stories were as short as to not even be quite stories. They felt unfinished many times. I prefer short stories that are more fully developed.
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With so many stories within the book, there really is something for everyone. It was a very easy, enjoyable read. I like how the stories are sectioned and themed, so you could skip a story if it wasn't catching your interest. My only criticism would be that due to so many stories, it can feel that some of the stories aren't as chunky/in depth as they could be.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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