His Unquiet Ghost - 1911
Mary Noailles Murfree
genre - General Fiction, short story
my rating - 4 out of 5 stars
The author (pen name is Charles Egbert Craddock) has an incredible way with
words. It is so rich and lush. Someone would have no trouble painting a picture
of the scene and then adding the soundtrack. I was blown away by the first
Here are the first three sentences of the story: "The moon was high in the sky. The wind was laid. So silent was the vast stretch of mountain wilderness, aglint with the dew, that the tinkle of a rill [a small stream] far below in the black abyss seemed less a sound than an evidence of the pervasive quietude, since so slight a thing, so distant, could compass so keen a vibration."
And then, the characters begin to speak! Revenuers are out at midnight
trying to catch the locals transporting moonshine. The difference between the
eloquent writing and the dialect of the backswoodsmen is startling. And in my
This is a short story, and the point of the tale is what
happens when a young man overhears others talking about him.
About the author -
For fifteen successive summers the Murfree family stayed in Beersheba Springs in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, giving Murfree the opportunity to study the mountains and mountain people more closely.
By the 1870s she had begun writing stories for Appleton's Journal under the penname of "Charles Egbert Craddock" and by 1878 she was contributing to the Atlantic Monthly. Murfree is Appalachia's first significant female writer. Over a fifty-year career, she published 14 novels and 45 short stories set in the Appalachian Mountains, all but 4 of them set in Tennessee. She died July 31, 1922.