Monday, November 25, 2013

The Greatcoat

The cover was the best part.
The Greatcoat, by Helen Dunmore

I'd heard this was a great spooky ghost story, and I got it through ILL.  Although I enjoyed it, I'm not sure it was worth using an ILL on (I only get 12/year from the public library).  I hadn't realized that it is really a novella--it's very short indeed.  And somehow I hadn't realized what the main point of the story was.

Isabel and Philip are newlyweds in 1954, adjusting to married life in a new Yorkshire village.  Philip is working hard at his new position as the village doctor, and is rarely home, while Isabel is having great difficulty adjusting, and hates their tiny rented flat.  It's so cold at night that when she finds an old RAF greatcoat stuffed far back in a cupboard, she uses it as an extra blanket--and then the owner of the coat starts visiting her.  It's not long before she is re-enacting the events of 10 years before and forgetting her own life.

It was all right, but not my favorite ghost story.  I hadn't realized how much it would center on an affair, albeit one prompted by some sort of possession thing.  So: meh.


Anonymous said...

Awwww. I wish I could donate you an ILL to pay you back so that you wouldn't feel this one had been wasted. Only twelve? How did they arrive at that number in particular?

Jean said...

One per month probably seemed reasonable. It used to be unlimited, but it cost too much. You *can* get more but they charge so much you might as well buy the book. It's really 12 free per year.

Amy said...

I'm always tempted by a ghost story, even one that's been described as "meh." :) I guess I'll start looking out for this one.