The Grief Hole – A Book-Review


There are many grief holes.

There’s the grief hole you fall into when a loved one dies.

There’s another grief hole in all of us; small or large, it determines how much we want to live.

And there are the geographical grief holes, the buildings that attract sorrow and loss and are filled with ghosts.

The book “The Grief hole” by Kaaron Warren follows the journey of young Theresa. Theresa has the ability to see ghosts, more precisely, ghosts that indicate how a person is going to die. The closer they are the closer a person is to death. After losing her boyfriend Ben, she starts working as a social worker.

But because of one particular client, she experiences a serious attack at work that leaves her client dead and her filled with grief and guilt. Consequently, she decides to leave her old home behind and temporarily move to work with her uncle. 

While working with him she finds out that, a few years prior, her aunt and uncle tragically lost their daughter Amber to suicide. And while the parents where in the process of grieving, someone took away all of Amber’s art work. After Theresa hears of this she decides to help her aunt and uncle to retrieve  Amber’s artwork, which  is when she stumbles over famous singer Sol Evictus who is in possession of them. However, he is seemingly not willing to simply sell them to Theresa. So she goes on a mission to find a worthy trade during which she gets a disturbing look into Sol Evictus’ live and his one-of-a-kind art collection.

By taking on a topic that many can relate to, which is loss and grief, and combining it with supernatural and horror elements, Warren creates a story that can really draw in a broad readership. The interjection of song-lyrics as well as art works really allow the reader to fully immerse themselves into the story and follow along with the experiences that the protagonist Theresa is having.

Even though this book is to some level a supernatural ghost story, these supernatural elements are not the main source of horror in the story. The dreadful feeling stems much more from the art work and songs that are heavily focused on in the book. And not only the things that the art portrays but also the circumstances in which some of the paintings, photographs, etc. are produced leave the reader disturbed. Oddly enough, a lot of the times, the actual art pieces are not described in detail. But the author provides just enough description for the reader to produces their own horrifying and disgusting image in their head, which in my opinion is what makes the horror aspect of this novel so effective. Especially Amber’s art work might seem disturbing to the reader, as Sol Evictus instructed her to paint them in what Theresa gets to know as ‘Paradise Falls’ or the ‘Grief Hole’, a place where young teenagers go to commit suicide. The whole atmosphere that the author creates surrounding that place definitely contributes to the sense of fright and terror that the reader experiences.  

Other that the horror-aspect the novel successfully touches on a number of different topics ranging from family issues over child loss and domestic abuse to friendship, guilt and obviously grief. 

One of the, in my opinion, most interesting aspects of the book is how Theresa and her family react to their own different supernatural gifts and how their dynamics change and evolve. After some traumatic experiences in the past, Theresa’s mothers is constantly trying to ignore the ghosts she seems to be able to see. Theresa on the other hand, tries to use her power to change the fate of those around her by giving them subtle, or not so subtle, hints as to how they should change their lives, without actually telling them about her gift.

All in all, I would definitely say this book is worth a read. As someone who usually is not very interested in the genre of horror, I found myself surprised by how much I actually enjoyed reading the book. 

Wife to Mr. Lovecraft – Sonia’s postcards, a mirror of their relationship

Short stories are a diverse way of storytelling that can appear in numerous different forms. When taking a look at the story ‘Wife to Mr. Lovecraft’ the reader is immediately introduced to a unique way of storytelling and a form that is not only one-of-a-kind but also very significant when looking at the relationship of Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft.


‘Wife to Mr. Lovecraft’ deals with Sonia writing postcards to her then ex-husband whom she calls How. Quite obviously, these characters in the story are based on writer H.P. Lovecraft and his ex-wife Sonia.

In these postcards Sonia writes to her ex-husband about the things she experiences with her new husband Ned, especially in Australia, and how certain events remind her of their time together. She especially focuses on the time they spent together writing stories and how different events remind her of specific stories. When on a ship, Sonia encounters a weird creature that she describes as monstrous and dark. This seems to scare her not only because the creature is unknown but more because it reminds her so much of a story her and Howard have written in the past, connecting her with a period in her life that she wants to leave behind, yet seemingly can’t. She openly mentions how she never wants to see a creature like that ever again, the creature representing their relationship or alternatively Howard himself. 

In the end she seems to get some kind of closure with their relationship after the encounter. She asks Lovecraft to let her go just like she is letting the creature go; permanently putting an end to their relationship.


With its epistolary form, the story pays tribute to writer H.P. Lovecraft and his wife Sonia Greene/ Lovecraft, who according to Sussex’s Twitter profile was ‘quite a personality’. There have been multiple postcards found by H.P. Lovecraft in which he corresponds with different people.

Based on that the story is divided into 11 postcards, all of them addressed to H.P. Lovecraft, although seemingly never sent. The postcards appear to be in chronological order but seem to jump in settings as the narrator/writer of the postcards (Sonia) seems to be changing location a lot with her new husband, leaving the United States for Australia.

All of the postcards have a heading that seems to describe either what Sonia writes about or what can be seen on the postcard (or both). Only the last postcard mentions the writer and has a proper ending.  

After looking more into the relationship between Lovecraft and Greene, what makes this story so interesting to me is how the form reflects on their relationship. Of course, the narrator openly mentions the relationship and the struggles Sonia and Lovecraft went through, talking about how they were ‘alien to each other’ (p.55).


 In the story Sonia writes that words, and especially the ones they wrote to each other, were the only thing her and Lovecraft had in common. It seems like their letters and postcards were the connection they had (cf. p.51). Now on the one hand, that refers to the stories that they wrote for and with each other, not only in the short story but also in real life. On the other hand, this is alluding to the beginning, growth and change of their relationship. 

Their relationship started after they met at a convention in Boston. From then on letters and postcards played an important part both leading up to and during their short-lived marriage.

Based on that the form of the short story ‘Wife of Mr. Lovecraft’ mirrors one of the most significant aspects of Sonia and Lovecraft’s relationship. Writing letters was what seemingly sparked the romance between these two and connected them. And now in ‘Wife to Mr. Lovecraft’ we get to read about a correspondence that seemingly marks the permanent end to their relationship and breaks their connection.


“The time of the ghosts”: a diverse ghost story? (Review)

What happens when three old ladies take in a 15-year-old runaway? And what happens when these three old ladies are not just your regular neighbourhood grandmas but hunt ghosts as a hobby? 

These questions and many more such as ‘How does one have a relationship with a ghost?’ or even ‘How to spend your retirement?’ are answered in Gillian Polack’s novel The Time of the Ghosts. 

The story revolves around three elderly (very old) ladies Ann, Mabel and Lil. When Ann meets the teenager Kat, who had run away from home, the three ladies decide to take her in. Over many years the grandmas have spent their time hunting ghosts in Canberra to send them back to where they came from. Once they take in Kat they decide to try and teach her their ways, especially now that some sort of evil spirit is threatening Canberra. 

Now judging by both the title and the cover of the book The Time of the Ghosts can easily be classified as a ghost story. And obviously ghosts are very important in the story since the three grandmas spend a huge part of their time hunting them. Furthermore, the novel definitely displays the dark and mysterious undertones of a ghost story. The ghosts presented are all very different in nature and character, ranging from friendly bushrangers to evil spirits. 

 However, Polack’s novel has much more to offer than that. When it comes to the mythical creatures that occur in the story the different types include ghosts, werewolves, and even fairies, which actually are a huge part of the story. 

As explained above, in addition to the unquestionably engaging theme of ghost hunting, The Time of The Ghosts touches on a variety of different subjects that are equally as interesting and important to the story. 

Apart from the ghost hunting, the story also follows the personal struggles of the characters that tackle tough issues like divorce, an abusive household or confronting your past as well as the idea of aging. Throughout the novel, these struggles continuously test the friendship between the grandmas especially since one of them seems to be keeping a secret. 

From themes like food and nature to the topic of Jewishness throughout different time periods and colonialism to such heavy topics such as abuse and even child loss, the story provides an insight into many troubles one might face in their life mixed with mythical elements, therefore making it very engaging to read. These themes are not only discussed in the main story but also in the Tales of Melusine, a many-century-old fairy, that are interjected in the outer story of the novel. These tales not only give the reader a view into different mythological creatures and stories throughout the centuries but also become relevant in the discussion of who these three, ghost-hunting old ladies really are. 

The switch between a third person narrative, the Melusine Tales, which at first seem to be disconnected from the outer storyline, and a first-person narrative in the form of blog posts that Kat is writing alongside the unfolding story adds a captivating depth to it. In the tales of Melusine, the story openly plays with the question of how reliable a narrator is, by mentioning that the narrator of the stories (Melusine herself) is a fairy that likes to play with the truth and is prone to lying. The blogposts, which are never labelled as such and can’t be pinned down to a specific time, give an intimate look into Kat’s thoughts and provide additional information about what she has been doing away from the three old ladies that she calls her ‘grandmas’. Even though these switches in perspective might seem confusing in the beginning, they are tied in together very nicely.

So all in all, The Time of the Ghosts is much more than just a ghost/ ghost-hunting story. It is a diverse story about friendship and family, Jewishness, aging and mystery.