Review of 'Hauntings'
By Susan Hill
Susan Price['s] collection, Hauntings, shows her again as one of the best contemporary writers for children of nine and over. She is especially good at presenting a recognisable modern world , often through the eyes of an older person looking back at their own youthful past. She understands well that the ghost story form may be used to move readers and question their prejudices about the nature of appearance as well as to frighten delightfully. She never settles for cheap effects and writes beautifully of relationships between young and old.
In 'The Landing Window', Mick lives in a farmhouse untouched by modern life, but now isolated by new estates. He tells his young visitor of the dead sister he saw dancing with other ghosts one night on the last remaining field. Did he, or was he tipsy? Did he create what he wanted to see? Either way, it seems best not to discover the truth.
'Davie' is a similarly touching story told by a woman looking back to her first sweetheart, the young shepherd who froze to death one winter on the hillside, and is now sometimes seen in the farmyard. So she lays a place for him at her kitchen table and knows, although she never sees him again, that he comes into the warm for good. This is a poignant story, packing feeling and a vivid sense of the past into a few pages.
Susan Price has also epublished two other collections of supernatural stories: