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Clery, Val.

Willowdale, (Ont.), Hounslow Press, c1985. 114pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-88882-074-7.

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Anne Locatelli

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

If you believe in ghosts you will love this collection of spooky stories; if you do not. . . read the book anyway, you may change your mind.

Val Clery was bom in Ireland. He worked for the BBC and the CBC in London, and later in Toronto where he settled in 1965. He has written for most of Canada's major magazines, and has been a reporter and a columnist for both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. A prolific writer, he has thirteen titles to his credit among which are Canada in Colour (Hounslow, 1972) and Seasons of Canada*. In Ghost Stories of Canada Clery tells his eerie tales in the first person. His sources are varied; some are traditional, others are reports of stories told by friends, or even by strangers he has encountered in his travels. All stories have in common a Canadian setting. Most concern spirits intent on righting some past wrong, or on guarding some treasured place, or object, on earth. An indestructible rag doll haunts a happy young family in the Ottawa area, and finally causes its break-up; in Newfoundland the spirit of a dead sealer speaks to his son through a pathetic seal pup, saving the young lad from a horrible death; while a seductive, ghostly young woman imposes herself and her expert lovemaking on the occupants of a room in an old Edmonton house. These are just some examples of the haunting plots, each as original and diverse as they could possibly be, but all full of trepidation and suspense. Are these stories true? Here is Clery's answer: "In the shadowy half-world shared by imagination and memory, by fear, and longing and doubt, when stories are exchanged by whispered word of mouth, there is no truth. Nothing is certain, nothing can be proved, nothing is realó these are ghost stories." True or not, the stories are well written and have merit. Senior high school students and teachers are sure to enjoy them. Another welcome addition to the Canadiana collection.

Anne Locatelli, Elliott Lake S.S., Elliott Lake, Ont.

*Reviewed VIII/1 Winter 1980, p. 17.

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