When I tell you the name Mary Shelly what do you immediately think of?
If you are anything like me then the countless remakes of the much loved and brilliant Frankenstein will be paramount in your mind at the mere mention of her name. Which is why it’s little wonder that her other novels remain almost unknown.
Is it perhaps because her other books dont hold the same financial incentives? I’m sure it is yes. Is it because they aren’t quite so shocking and beautifully crafted, a little I think yes. Frankenstein will always be her pinnacle, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the rest, far from it.
Yet this is less a story and more of an essay, let’s just start out by clearing that up. As such it consists of a few stories that surround her argument, some like that of the Englishman or Italian are really compelling, while others feel more stifled and contrived.
Shelley’s overall exploration of ghosts and the ethereal is compelling at its base level and yet is elevated to another realm entirely thanks to her prowess with the rhetoric. This is an intriguing read even when it is at it’s most absurd, and it strays into that territory more than once.
This is not Shelley at her Frankenstein best, though it is not meant to be. This is not quite a fiction novel and not quite a non-fiction essay, it sits uncomfortably somewhere betwixt the two.
It is a interesting read but sadly not one to ever revisit.
If you’d like to check out On Ghosts for yourself it’s available on Amazon.