‘Closing Time’ by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman, Neil 2004

Closing Time by Neil Gaiman, 2004

The magic trick:

Telling two different stories at the same time

Great, great ghost story here. I love the way the ghost story at the center of the story mirrors the outer story. The reader has different things to focus on, different things to take away from the text. Certainly the ghost part is plenty spooky. But my favorite takeaway is the notion that all of our pasts are lined with ghosts. The narrator spends nearly as much time in the story considering the ghostly memories of the drunken nights of his youth as he does the actual ghost story about the mysterious old house. And that’s quite a trick on Gaiman’s part.

The selection:

And then one of us said, “I’ll tell you a true story, if you like. It’s a story I’ve never told a living soul. It’s true – it happened to me, not to a friend of mine – but I don’t know if it’s a ghost story. It probably isn’t.”

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