The Beckoning Fair One by Oliver Onions

The Beckoning Fair One

"Miles ahead of the average ghost-story" — Sunday Times. A novelist retreats to an abandoned house in the heart of London, where he becomes enthralled by an 18th-century spirit — and where his contact with the outside world gradually diminishes. Acclaimed by such masters as Lovecraft as one of the best ghost stories in the English language.

Details The Beckoning Fair One

TitleThe Beckoning Fair One
Release DateAug 30th, 2004
PublisherDover Publications
GenreHorror, Fiction, Classics, Paranormal, Ghosts, Gothic, Short Stories, Ghost Stories, Gothic Horror

Reviews The Beckoning Fair One

  • mark monday
    A chilling novella about a writer's move into a flat and his quick descent into lunacy. I can see why this classic is still being recommended today: it set the table for many such stories to come, and yet doesn't feel dated or overly familiar. Onions is a splendid writer: he gets right into his protagonist's head and so we descend right alongside him, following his increasingly deranged thought process and disastrous life decisions. The storytell...
  • Althea Ann
    What really makes this story is how what's terrifying about the ghost is how its influence affects the mind and moods of the characters... Over and above shadows and bumps in the night, it's the depression and despair that accompany its presence.A writer rents out a suite in a decrepit and long-empty home. Sinking his savings into renovations, he's eager to show the apartment off to his lady-friend, whom he anticipates will be delighted by what h...
  • Johnny Waco
    This 1911 ghost story is an impressive example of suggestion and atmosphere, as a struggling novelist, Paul Oleron, rents a floor of a dilapidated house and is slowly seduced by something ghostly. Onions unfolds the story languidly, beginning with incidents that could just as easily be Oleron's imagination as a supernatural presence: an ancient melody he can't stop humming, a visitor scratched by a nail he swore he removed. Uncovering the hidden,...
  • Annalisa
    Una ghost-story ritenuta tra le più suggestive, "La bella Incantatrice" di Oliver Onion, pochissimo conosciuto in Italia, tradotto solo nell'ambito di alcune raccolte dedicate alla Ghost Story e di genere.La lettura di questo romanzo breve (o racconto lungo) è davvero seducente, alla maniera Edith Wharton le presenze non sono quasi mai manifeste, sono "suggerite", accennate, ma non per questo meno terrorizzanti.
  • Holly Cagney
    I decided to read this novella because of a painting I own. It was given to me by my father, and it previosly belonged to my great-grandmother. She'd been given this strange painting of a woman by an artist friend, and on the back it has the title The Beckoning Fair One. I wanted to find out more about the painting so I Googled it and found this story. It's quite an intriguing read, full of suspense that kept me up half the night wanting to see h...
  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    Hmm. I didn't enjoy this story that much. I can see why it's influential and respected as a ghost story. But, it's not my cup of tea. I think that the malevolent ghost aspect is interesting and appreciated, but I didn't care much for the execution, or the ending. I can see how this motif has been used in latter works. Definitely respect Oliver Onions for that. I also respect him for having such a dark aspect to this story. Let's be real here. I l...
  • Latasha
    I listened to a Librivox recording for this story. the reader did very well. the story started out so slow. i didn't think it picked up until desperate friend started getting hurt then it slowed back down. overall it was ok. it could have been A LOT shorter, though.
  • Sirensongs
    It seems as if there is somewhat of a gap in my experience of ghost stories if it has taken me this long to finally read this classic by Oliver Onions. Better late than never, however, and I must say it is one of the finest spectral tales that I have ever read! It contained all the elements that I find most enticing in a ghost stories: a tortured artist, obsession, madness, unrequited love and passion, the subtlest hints of lust, ambiguity... I t...
  • Laura Garner
    My favorite ghost story of all time. Subtle yet terrifying, in a Victorian way. And the idea of a man (or woman) preferring some romanticized, probably non-existent ideal over a real, solid, flawed woman (or man) ... I'd call that a timeless theme.
  • Suzy Nash
    This is perhaps the scariest haunted house story I have ever read.
  • JoAnn
    Odd, yet compelling.
  • M
    This is not a story where ghosts pop out of the dark shadows and people scream. It is a story of obsession, possession and the sheer terror of losing everything to an unknown force. Short and brilliant. Why it is not better known, amazes me. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • Julie Davis
    I can't believe I never reviewed this novella. I read it on Forgotten Classics in three parts as it is rather long.We will be discussing it on SFFaudio where Jesse very kindly put all the pieces together into one complete audiobook for those who want to listen before hearing our discussion.Many people complain of this being a slow, meandering tale but I found this explained by the author's own forward which explains his approach to the ghost stor...
  • Michael Adams
    Well written short horror / ghost story. Follows the final days of a frustrated novelist and his unrequited love to a rather grim and ambiguous ending. The troubles begin upon moving into new lodgings, a dilapidated old house, one with a curious, haunted, or even accursed history. As with many such tales, events begin playing out in a cyclical manner, history repeating itself, and we are led inexorably to a murky and dark conclusion. A few tricks...
  • Shawn Birss
    This classic novella of eery horror brings to mind The Shining. A writer is driven to madness as his wits, his passions, and his inspiration are replaced by dark, supernatural evils within the building that is his new home. The narration expertly carries us through various states of our protagonist's fear and folly, changing in tone and clarity to match the waxing and waning of the character's own lucidity. The largest complaint I have of the boo...
  • Jonas Wilmann
    A very alternative ghost story that may serve as a sort of precautionary tale for those who delve TOO deeply into the darkest recesses of their creativity. While reading, one wonders if the so called 'haunted' apartment author Paul Oleron moves into, is not in fact haunted by himself ... A spinechilling meta-story thematically exploring the 'gift of writing' as an unbearable curse.
  • Mark McLaughlin
    Oliver Onions was a great writer of the supernatural. His ghost stories are perfectly crafted and profound.
  • Elizabeth
    Really an unnerving, very effective ghost story. I loved this.
  • Mizuki
    It's a 3.5 stars read, I like the writing and the characters, but the very, very faint ending is a bit of a letdown.
  • H.E. Bulstrode
    Understated ghost story with a disturbing denouementThis is the most famous and highly rated of Onions’s stories, as well the first one of his ghostly tales that I have read. When any story, book, or film is spoken of so highly, I harbour a fear that I will be disappointed in what I find when I come to encounter that work, but in this instance, my apprehension proved to be misplaced. Then again, I must own that my misgivings of this type are ge...
  • Slackyb
    This early 20th century haunted house story follows the case of a young, relatively poor, male British writer who decides to save money by taking an old apartment in the bad part of town. Once he's settled in, he interprets a number of very strange happenings as indicating that the apartment is haunted by a sensitive and extremely attractive female ghost of the previous century. The writer feels things aren't going well with him, and it's perhaps...
  • X
    I'm not sure what I thought about the ending, but the rest of the book was well written and original.
  • Eileen
    A much better story of agoraphobia than The Woman in the Window , and a better audiobook too, despite the amateur narrator with a poor mic.
  • LGandT
    The buildup was a bit too slow with a few too many tedious details but this was really good. I did enjoy the tension and the way the characters personalities were influenced by "it".
  • Ash
    Certainly intriguing, although I did have problems trudging through the some what bloated middle. I forced myself to continue because I was curious whether the "beckoner" would finally appear, and whether Oleron would die. I know it is meant to leave the mystery of whether he just had a break down or whether there actually was a presence. But based on the few details related in the story, I believe she was a succubus/demon instead of a ghost. Th...
  • Sylvester
    Onions does an excellent job of leading us readers into the twilight zone. Especially liked the part in which Oleron becomes ultra-aware of the minutest sounds going on in the house, and begins to realize that the house is like a mirror-being of himself. Deliciously creepy. In my opinion he could have gone farther with it than he did, but it was good nonetheless. One of those books that is so obviously the basis for this entire genre of horror\gh...
  • Greg Kerestan
    As a writer who sometimes struggles with procrastination, this one hit a little too close to home. Onions's novella of a struggling author who gradually becomes possessed either by his own madness or by the vampiric spirit of his new apartment is a slow burner, but that delicate ambiguity of madness versus supernatural intervention lends it an aura of menace that makes a genuine frisson of the last two chapters.
  • Jeff Miller
    This novella is a pretty decent Ghost story written in 1911 that is really quite good and includes elements more common today in horror stories - though not gore wise.A writer buys a house to finish his book and his personality starts to change as the house influences him and tries to get rid of others.What a name Oliver Onions is and not surprisingly it is not a pseudonym.
  • Jennifer Kelly
    I had never heard of this novella but it sounded interesting when I found it on glad I found it. The atmosphere of doom and impending madness was brilliant. Creepy as hell! What a classic that needs reviving.
  • Trish Graboske
    The best kind of ghost story, in which you are never sure whether the ghost is real or not. It absolutely could be real, but alternatively, It might just be in the susceptible novelist's mind.