Death of a ghost
Butler, C. (2006) Death of a ghost. Harper Collins. ISBN 0007128584
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Death of a Ghost is Butler's fifth novel, written in tandem with his monograph Four British Fantasists, and can be seen as a companion piece to that book, partly because it draws on some of the same mythological and folk material (particularly regarding the Wild Hunt and the figure of Cernunnos), and partly because it uses the kind of complex intertextual and temporal structures typical of the books he has explored as a critic. One of the technical challenges of Death of a Ghost lay in imagining and then conveying the interaction between the divine and human realms - one essentially timeless and/or cyclical, the other locked into linear history - in such a way that the story still retained its surprise and suspense, and the characters their motivation. It was also necessary to set up intertextual 'harmonics' for the story in the terms of the different historical periods deployed - from the Red King and White Queen of the medieval alchemists, to Keats's 'Belle Dame Sans Merci', to the croquet match in Alice in Wonderland. It was felt that the critical and fictional projects were able to productively aid and complement each other.