Guestbook NPR coverage of Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
NPR logo Guestbook


Ghost Stories

by Leanne Shapton

Hardcover, 293 pages, Riverhead, List Price: $30 |


Buy Featured Book

Ghost Stories
Leanne Shapton

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

NPR Summary

A collection of fictional stories about ghostly visitations includes such tales as a woman who returns from a visit to Alcatraz feeling surrounded by a ghost and is illustrated with artifacts and images that evoke curiosity about such experiences.

Read an excerpt of this book


Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Guestbook

He told me twice about the visitation, once soon after it happened and then again something like thirteen years later. The first time he told me, we were outside and it was cold and I didn't listen very well. I think I thought to myself: Huh, that's weird.

The second time he told me, we were inside and we had finished our spaghetti and were drinking some red wine he had brought over, and this time I listened. I listened and heard him try to describe how, suddenly, she was there. We'd both had children by then and were not as close, and though we were lost in some ways, we were not as confused as before.

He told me that suddenly she was there and they had been talking for some time.They were in his studio apartment, and though he couldn't exactly see her, she was there and seemed to be the same age as she'd been when she died. Which was thirty-three, the age he was then, too. And they were both so lonely and they talked about how she had had babies to be less lonely and for the company and they laughed together at that. He said they just laughed and laughed. And he knew her and he liked her and he loved her.

She had died when he was ten, and most of his memories came from a film a friend of his mother's had made about her. The filmmaker was a family friend and a famous poet. Famous in Canada.

When the visitation happened, he was living on the Upper East Side and didn't see much of anyone. He drank.

He said they talked for a couple of hours. The space he lived in was small. It had a platform bed and she was there suddenly, she was impressed and happy that he was living in New York City and she said that she didn't understand how computers could be so important and how she could see bodies on the radio. Then just as suddenly she was not there anymore and he cried and cried.Guest