The particular value of Murray's collection is that it leads us in chronological order through a much greater breadth of Hearn's writings on the supernatural in Japan, with ghostly tales selected from 11 of his books ... This book insightfully shows how Hearn filtered Japanese ghostly originals through the prism of his own expansive imagination and traumatized experience to create works that were distinctly, and chillingly, his own * Japan Times * What makes these stories, preserved from ancient times, especially readable today is the preternaturally postmodern form they are given in Hearn's deeply idiosyncratic telling * New Yorker * The overarching mood is of wonder . . . the stories occupy the reverie world our mind projects onto the backs of our eyelids, where the ordinary mingles with the supernatural * The Wall Street Journal * An extraordinary author . . . Paul Murray, a former Irish diplomat, has been hooked since a 1970s posting in Japan. His Penguin compilation includes 34 selections, a chronology of Hearn's peripatetic life, some intriguing background information about the sources of the stories, and a number of evocative woodblock prints. Murray's introduction is exceptionally useful to contextualize the man and his oeuvre, tracing the powerful influence of Irish folktales and ghost stories on Hearn's take on Japanese counterparts * Los Angeles Review of Books *
The improbable life story of Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) included a peculiarly gothic childhood in Ireland during which he was successively abandoned by his mother, his father and his guardian; two decades in the United States, where he worked as a journalist and was sacked for marrying a former slave; and a long period in Japan, where he married a Japanese woman and wrote about Japanese society and aesthetics for a Western readership. His ghost stories, which were drawn from Japanese folklore and influenced by Buddhist beliefs, appeared in collections throughout the 1890s and 1900s. He is a much celebrated figure in Japan. Paul Murray is the author of biographies of Lafcadio Hearn and Bram Stoker, and the editor of collections of Hearn's work. He is a former Irish diplomat whose posting to Japan in the late 1970s first ignited his interest in Hearn.