The Naremores, a nuclear family in meltdown, abandon London for an idyllic rural retreat called the Hollow, which seems to be a cure for their ills. Even the ghosts that haunt it aren’t a problem; they’re friendly, benevolent. To begin with.

Gradually, workaholic dad Steven, stressed mum Kirsty, neurotic daughter Jordan and tearaway son Tim succumb to their old insecurities and fears. Arguments flare, buried animosities are disinterred, and the Hollow’s ghosts, attuned to the moods of the house’s living residents, respond accordingly, with anger. A magical atmosphere shades into hostility and terror, and Newman captures this deterioration masterfully, with a delicacy of touch that wouldn’t shame MR James. An English Ghost Story is exactly that: a classic English ghost story.

An English Ghost Story, by Kim Newman, Titan Books, RRP£7.99, 304 pages

Get alerts on Kim Newman when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article