#1 - Part I
Beckoning Fair One (Version 2)
"The Beckoning Fair One" is the most famous, and most widely anthologized, work by British author Oliver Onions. This novella, along with eight other stories, appeared in the collection Widdershins, published in 1911.
As a contemporary reviewer in the London literary magazine The Athenaeum (March 11, 1911) noted: "To write a good ghost-story is a test of several qualities in union... imagination, a sense of horror, a certain elusiveness, a vagueness, as it were, and not too close a definition.... Mr. Onions...certainly has all the qualities required to write a ghost-story. ... 'The Beckoning Fair One' is...a very successful example of what a ghost-story should be, without improper definition or ruthless explanation -- only atmosphere."
Indeed, the elusive "Fair One" may or may not be real; the protagonist Oleron may or may not be losing his grip on reality; and the dilapidated old house that is the setting for Oleron's disintegration may or may not have a malevolent will of its own. A dripping water tap, the hushed sound of a woman brushing her hair, fleeting shadows, a growing obsession... it all could be manifestations of a fevered imagination, or of a deadly supernatural haunting. - Summary by Louise J. Belle
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