Noyes, Deborah: The Ghosts of Kerfol.
NOYES, Deborah The Ghosts of Kerfol Walker, 2010 170pp A$17.95 NZ$21.99 pbk ISBN 9781406326086 SCIS 1495405
Kerfol is a short story, set in France, written by Edith Wharton. It appeared in Scribner's Magazine 59 (March 1916) with illustrations by Elenore Plaisted Abbott and is readily available to be read online. Noyes has taken the noble Breton house, Kerfol, almost as if it too is a character, and inhabited it with five uncanny, elusive stories that reference the original gothic tale but are set progressively closer to present day.
The stories are appealing on a number of levels. Each character that arrives at Kerfol is gripped by social, psychological or physical impediments they cannot escape. At times, the ghosts from the seventeenth century setting of the initial story assist, destroy, or merge with Noyes' more recent characters. There is a well realised sense of horror, accompanied by inevitable loss that makes each story, as a stand alone narrative, a most satisfying ghost story to read.
For mature readers, or students of literature, Deborah Noyes has created a fine introduction to some of the concerns of Edith Wharton and other writers who were her contemporaries, and who chose, like her, to live and write in France.