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GhoStory Guru: “How the Dead Live” by Gina Ochsner

So, what do you think being dead sounds like? Gina Ochsner’s ghost story “How the Dead Live”—about a man who has died and haunts his daughter’s house only because she will not let go of his memory—answers this question beautifully. Ochsner uses sound in a subtle manner to imply the lack of communication between the man and his loved ones when he was alive, and the reader is treated to a piece that renders chills in what is heard: for example, there is the “sad sound of geese honking” (40-41) in his daughter’s dreams.

Ochsner’s story, on the surface, is about losing a loved one; the motif of sound and how it’s used serves as a reminder that we should, while we are still alive, take the time to listen to those around us, and be certain that we are heard.

“How the Dead Live” is found in Ochsner’s 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction-winning Collection The Necessary Grace to Fall. You can purchase it by clicking here:

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