“…but wasn’t that the best part, the not knowing?”
Title: The Saturday Night Ghost Club
Author: Craig Davidson
Page Count: 253 pages
Genre: Horror || Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ .5
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Buy It: Chapters Indigo
Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls–a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place–Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly lighthearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become.
Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.
It’s not often I read books set in Canadian towns but I’m happy with the way Davidson captured the essence of Clifton Hill and Niagara Falls. If you haven’t visited it’s a cool vibe!
Side note, I went to the Falls when I was a kid with my parents and I remember Clifton Hill. There’s a bit of a spooky Halloween vibe to it even in the summer. However, I do not remember the Falls because my glasses fell into the rushing water and that’s all a blur – clearly I need to visit again.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club is a story about a man reflecting on his youth. A flashback to that coming of age time in your life when life is a bit more reckless, a bit more adventurous in that childlike way. Jake and his eccentric uncle form a Saturday Night Ghost Club. His uncle owns a store called The Occultorium, a store that would fit perfectly on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, has an “out there” personality and seeks all things paranormal. Jake and his two childhood friends spend time exploring their neglected town while lapping up his uncle’s spooky tales.
This book is all about atmosphere. It seeps through the pages and you’ll find yourself walking alongside the characters through cemeteries, haunted houses, spooky shops with the backdrop of Cataract City. The setting is what helped this book grow on me. I wasn’t overly attached to Jake but I really had a soft spot for Uncle Calvin and The Occultorium.
In one word I’d describe this book as nostalgic. It’s more coming of age than spooky but together it just works! I’ll be checking out more of Davidson’s work in the future.