Reminiscences of a Bachelor by J.S. Le Fanu. Book review

Reminiscences of a Bachelor by  J.S. Le Fanu, Swan River Press, 2014 Hardcover, 131 pages

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of famous Irish writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,editors Brian J Showers and Jim Rockill have assembled, under the title Reminiscences of a Bachelor two novellas which share the same narrator ( the Bachelor).

“The Watcher”, actually the earlier, original version of the tale subsequently entitled ” “The Familiar” and included in Le Fanu’s cult collection In a Glass Darkly, is an effective , disturbing ghost story about a fatal haunting suffered by a man as the vengeance for his past wrong deeds.

Atmospheric and cleverly built, the piece strongly maintains even today its supernatural, gripping power. The original companion piece, “The Fatal Bride” ( the second, and last instalment in the Bachelor’s reminiscences) , out of print for 150 years, is a vivid gothic novella with no supernatural elements, where passion, honour and adventure are admirably blended to create a suspenseful, enticing narration providing further evidence of Le Fanu’s uncanny storytelling ability.

The volume is beautifully produced, as always, by the invaluable imprint Swan River Press.