The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Almost witless. By which I mean this is nearly free of wit.
That's a problem for Oscar Wilde, a writer whose career was based on his rapier wit. But I'm sorry fans, I just don't see it in The Canterville Ghost.
In this story we have your typical set up where Americans come to the UK, buy up a castle, ghost-included, and then proceed to dash away hundreds of years of well-cultivated English tedium. (And I like their tedium, so that was a drag...)
Wilde's commentary on stuffy Brits and cocky Americans is broad and soon played out. All that's left is a sappy love story.
Well, that and a ghost story that's used for some good comic effect. The only problem with this part of the story is that recently it's been done a bajillion times. That's no fault of Wilde's, mind you! I don't blame him. But the fact it, these days the old put-one-over-on-the-scary-ghost bit has been done ad nauseam. If only we'd all read this book before being inundated by recent tv and movies...
Still and all, this is an Oscar Wilde book and as such it's still good reading even with all of its faults. Yes, I've bashed it good here, but look up there at those shiny three stars. That's a solid thumbs-tepidly-up if I ever saw one!
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