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 New Orleans, where he worked as a journalist and was sacked for marrying a former slave; and a long period in Japan, where he became a Buddhist, married a Japanese woman and wrote about ju-jitsu and Japanese aesthetics for a Western readership. His ghost stories, which were drawn from Japanese folklore, appeared in collections throughout the 1890s. He is a much celebrated figure in Japan.
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 * 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 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 *