Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror

Black Spot. Feb. 2023. 300p. ed. by Lee Murray & Angela Yuriko Smith. ISBN 9781645481294. pap. $18.95. LIT
In this collection of intimate essays, women writers of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, often living in Eurocentric countries, such as Canada, the United States, and New Zealand, link their experiences and identity to that of the diaspora of ghost stories from their respective heritages. This includes reflecting on their encounters with misogyny, being women of color in countries with rampant white supremacy, the pressures of motherhood, and more. The stories involve finding kindred spirits, hungry ghosts, nine-tailed foxes, the angry spirits of deceased fetuses, and many others. A particular highlight is “The Substitute” by Yi Izzy Yu, a powerful and well-paced piece about the unjust fate of Yu’s great-aunt and how it reflects the Chinese “substitute ghosts” that seek to replace the living and free themselves from their cursed existence. This book is well-edited, and the references behind the essays may inspire further reading.
VERDICT A collection of autobiographical works that are personal, moving, and frightening, plus some recounted ghost stories, that will likely appeal to both memoir and horror readers.
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