The Haunting of Alma Fielding Summary and Reviews

The Haunting of Alma Fielding

A True Ghost Story

by Kate Summerscale

The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale X
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale
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Book Summary

London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, a young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos.

In Alma Fielding's modest home, china flies off the shelves and eggs fly through the air; stolen jewelry appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a turtle materializes on her lap. The culprit is incorporeal. As Alma cannot call the police, she calls the papers instead.

After the sensational story headlines the news, Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research, arrives to investigate the poltergeist. But when he embarks on his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems.

By unravelling Alma's peculiar history, Fodor finds a different and darker type of haunting, a tale of trauma, alienation, loss and revenge. He comes to believe that Alma's past has bled into her present, her mind into her body. There are no words for processing her experience, so it comes to possess her. As the threat of a world war looms, and as Fodor's obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.

With characteristic rigor and insight, Kate Summerscale brilliantly captures the rich atmosphere of a haunting that transforms into a very modern battle between the supernatural and the subconscious.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Summerscale vividly recreates the four months in 1938 that fascinated a Britain seeking distraction from Hitler's ominous aggressions, and reconstructs the events and the secret inner torment that led to Alma's brief appearance in the spotlight with sensitivity and a novelist's gift for narrative. Readers will be riveted." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Summerscale has produced a thoroughly engrossing tale about the power of trauma and how the past can haunt us all." - Booklist

"Likely to appeal to readers of ghost stories and psychology alike, this well-researched chronicle pulls directly from firsthand accounts, interviews, news articles, séances, photographs, and other sources to provide as comprehensive a view as possible from this side of history." - Library Journal

"[W]hile some readers may tire of Summerscale's painstaking documentation of Alma's paranormal activities, her sense of humor and clear style keep the pages moving...An astute psychological study enlivened by dry wit, eccentric characters, and informed analyses of 1930s England." - Kirkus Reviews

"Nobody is better at unpicking stories of ghosts and murders than Kate Summerscale, and this book is one of her best. Set in the unsettling world of the spiritualism-obsessed late 1930s, it is the story of Alma Fielding, a south London woman who claimed to be attacked by her own flying furniture. Was she deluded? A fraud? Or was there really a poltergeist at work? Summerscale has enormous fun finding out, and her oddly haunting story will stay with you for weeks." - The Sunday Times (UK), Best History Books of the Year 2020

"With her eye for evocative period detail, her sensitivity to the quirks and poignancies of human motivation, and her brilliant storytelling skills, Summerscale has taken this corker of a case and made it as gripping as a novel. An engaging, unsettling, deeply satisfying read." - Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet

This information about The Haunting of Alma Fielding shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale, formerly the literary editor of the Daily Telegraph (London), is the author of The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham Award and was short-listed for the Whitbread Biography Award. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, a number one bestseller in the UK, has been translated into more than a dozen languages and won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the British Book Awards Book of the Year. The Wicked Boy won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. The Haunting of Alma Fielding was short-listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize. Summerscale lives in London.

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