James Buchan - The Gate of Air (3 stars)

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James Buchan - The Gate of Air

(Quercus)

GHOST STORY

James Buchan’s most recent main protagonist isn’t the most likeable of chaps. Jim Smith – an emotionally closed, ex-London business entrepreneur with a love of complete solitude – moves to the Brackshire countryside, taking early retirement from the world of software, only to be greeted by a frosty reception from his hyper-critical, upper class neighbours and a haunted new home. Indeed not one of the characters in this award-winning author’s third work ever really charms us, and instead it is left to the poetic prose and intense love story running beneath to captivate the reader.

Which, for the most part, it does, and despite slight souring by the odd cliché, overly complex allegory and confusingly contradictory description, The Gate of Air is ultimately a moving and otherwise elegantly written novel. You certainly won’t read another ghost story quite like it.

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