Title: Wailing Ghosts
Writer: Pu Songling
Publishing House: Penguin Classics
Date of Publication: February 26th 2015 (first published 1740)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’I can make the seasons go backwards, and turn the order of nature upside down.’’
Pu Songling’s best known work is a collection of haunting stories with the title Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. I chose to read another collection in order to form a first impression of his writing and I was led to Wailing Ghosts. Striking title, undoubtedly, and the result was a very engaging array of mysterious stories with an intricate sense of humour by a writer that belongs in the Great Qing, the last imperial dynasty of China.
(A portrait of Pu Songling)
Let us start a journey in one of the most fascinating countries and witness an elegant and mysterious fight between the supernatural and the mortal.
Where to go: Visit the ghostly corners of Shandong, Changshan, Fujian, Yanzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang.
What to see: Temples, beautiful pavilions, gardens of breathtaking beauty and run-down neighborhoods.
When to visit: During the autumn harvest and the spring festival.
Choose a guide: Noblemen, merchants, soldiers, mandarins, monks, magicians, sects, rebels, concubines, witches.
Beware of: Winds blowing, doors opening by themselves, mutilated corpses, moonlit alleys, magic caves, cursed mountains. Trolls, monsters, fox spirits, will – o’- the- wisps, wailing ghosts seeking justice.
Enjoy gory tales of challenges, deathly jokes and broken vows, rich in atmosphere, elegance, wit and the inimitable Chinese culture.
‘’His room filled with the roaring of the wind, and he heard the sound of clomping boots gradually approaching the alcove in which his bed was situated. By now he was utterly terrified.’’