Earlier in July, I wrote a review of the excellent novel The ‘Geisters by David Nickle for the National Post. It’s a scary, kinky, harrowing, squicky and deeply haunting ghost story, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it.
In the past, I’ve had some of my reviews picked up by other places, entering syndication and appearing in other newspapers, but I’ve never had a review travel as extensively as this one has. Versions of it have so far popped up in The Star Phoenix, The Windsor Star, Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette, The Calgary Herald, and papers in Regina and Saskatoon. I’m sure I have missed some incarnations as well. It’s been strange and wonderful to see the review appear in different forms and at different lengths at papers all over the country, and I’m in no small part relieved that the first review of mine to travel so extensively is one I’m genuinely proud of.
If there is one thing that can haunt as well as a ghost, it is desire. Which is fitting, because The ’Geisters also engages with kink, and is at its core a horror novel about perversion. Which is not to say that the novel explores kink in any kind of comfortable or glamorous way, the kind that pops up more and more often in a post-50 Shades of Grey world, a world densely populated with fiction about sparkly vampires who enjoy the occasional romp with a riding crop. Quite the contrary, The ’Geisters shares a universe with The Story of the Eye and Venus in Furs, in that it is an exploration of the outer limits of sexual desire, often at its most violent and selfish. Just as Ann is unable to distinguish between fear and love, horror and desire are inextricably bound together here, and the subject of one nightmare can be the very heart of sexual pleasure for another. The ’Geisters is able to put a cold finger against the treacherous intersection between what we want and what we find most repulsive, and how they can often be one in the same, shading into one another.
The Geisters is published by ChiZine publications.