Ghosts and Other Lovers
by Lisa Tuttle
(Sarob Press, £23/US$42.50, 143 pages, limited edition hardback; published May 2002.)
Review by Mario Guslandi
If you think you don't know Lisa Tuttle, then your memory doesn't serve you well. Maybe she's not one of the BIG names in the horror field, and she's far from being overproductive, but if you take a look at the horror anthologies sitting on your bookshelves, you'll find her name quite often.
Turn the pages of anthologies such as the mythical Dark Forces, Night Visions, Stephen Jones' Dark Terrors, Peter Crowther's Destination Unknown and Tombs: Lisa is there. And if you read her stories then you'll remember that you have enjoyed her tales, so much so that you were regretting the fact that she was not writing more. Now Lisa's thirteen best stories, which appeared here and there in the '80s and in the '90s, are collected in a single, elegant volume by Robert Morgan's Sarob Press.
If you missed some of these stories when they were first published or if you want to savour again their bittersweet taste, Lisa's Sarob collection Ghosts and other lovers will suit you admirably.
Only, don't expect just the usual ghostly stuff. The term "ghost" is used here in a broad sense.
We are surrounded by ghosts: memories of our past, lost lovers, missed opportunities, untold words, forgotten melodies. Sometimes we are the ghosts, trapped in a past that we can't cancel or in a future which attracts and scares us at the same time.
Although Lisa declares that her literary influences were MR James, Robert Aickman and Shirley Jackson, I'm not sure if she should be considered just a horror writer. She's much more, a great storyteller who defies labels, a fine writer talking about feelings and emotions we all have experienced some time in our lives. Most of her stories leave us not frightened, but uneasy with the feeling of how lonely and melancholic the human existence can be behind its shiny facade.
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© Mario Guslandi 27 July 2002