Review: Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost Stories
This sparingly-rendered treasure chest of ten tales is fresh and fun. On a technical level, what’s most impressive is the sharp imagery, deft use of single effect, and economy in the telling. Poe fans who have any deeper familiarity with the man’s body of work shouldn’t let this one pass them by—it’s chock full of subtle allusions to even some of his lesser known works at every turn and works heavily with many of his primary themes. As a bonus, lovers of New York City will appreciate not only the variety of locations depicted in the book—from the Morgan Library in Midtown to the Village to Prospect Park—but also the setting of stories during some of the city’s darker chapters: The fire and sinking of the General Slocum, a man’s murdering of his fiancé in SoHo, the terrible oil leak at Newtown Creek. Standouts for me included “We’ll All Be in the Arms of our True Loves Before Long,” “A Fitting Tribute,” “The General Slocum,” and “The Northern Dispensary” (this last one has a total party with Poe’s “Berenice”!), but they’re all enjoyable and skillfully written. A quick read that’s difficult to put down, Boroughs of the Dead is a must for any ghost story lover.