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If You Could See Me Now [Hardcover]

Peter Straub
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1977

This ghost story was a classic when it was first released, and its reputation has only grown over the years. Now it has been republished in hardcover, with a suite of handsome full-color, full-page photographs by J.K. Potter, who has given us these haunting compositions that perfectly complement the understated beauty of Peter Straub's prose. Elegantly typeset and handsomely bound, this new edition is limited to three hundred copies, each one signed by Peter Straub, Thomas Tessier, and J.K. Potter. The book also features a lengthy interview with Straub and a bonus short story.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Review

"ELECTRIFYING."
--STEPHEN KING

"COMPULSIVE READING . . . MARVELOUS ATMOSPHERE, SUSPENSE, AND A TRULY GRAND GUIGNOL ENDING."
--DOROTHY EDEN
   Author of Sleep in the Woods

"STRAUB IS TERRIFYINGLY ACCOMPLISHED IN THE ART OF HORROR."
--Entertainment Weekly

"A FINE STORYTELLER."
--The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"ELECTRIFYING."
--STEPHEN KING

"COMPULSIVE READING . . . MARVELOUS ATMOSPHERE, SUSPENSE, AND A TRULY GRAND GUIGNOL ENDING."
--DOROTHY EDEN
Author of Sleep in the Woods

"STRAUB IS TERRIFYINGLY ACCOMPLISHED IN THE ART OF HORROR."
--Entertainment Weekly

"A FINE STORYTELLER."
--The Washington Post
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MILES TO GO Feb. 7 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Miles Teagarden, the narrator and focal character, in Straub's early "If You Could See Me Now" is one mixed up guy. At times, you have to wonder if he's got all his cookies; but in some ways, that's what makes this book an eerie, if not classic, thriller. Straub is a wonderful writer, and even though at times, he gets too wordy, he sets a very suspenseful mood, and keeps an impending sense of doom permeating the novel.
When Miles returns to the scene of a horrifying "accident" after twenty years, we wonder when and if his beloved Allison will keep the vow she made those many years ago. If you've read a lot of this type of book, you pretty much know what the big revelation will be halfway through the book. Once you find that out, the story loses a little of its punch and the rest of the time, Miles is involved in finding out whodunit, although it's pretty obvious who did! At any rate, the novel moves along rather nicely, but the ending seems somewhat rushed, and the murderer's identity is something that is obscure and not fully fleshed out. Overall, though, if you are a Straub fan, this book fits nicely in your library, although "Ghost Story" and "Floating Dragon" are his best works.
RECOMMENDED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If You Forget, God Help You..." May 23 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Thirteen year old Miles Teagarden and his one year older racy cousin, Alison Greening, went skinny-dipping in the quarry in Arden, Wisconsin, and made a pact to reunite twenty years in the future. Only Miles left the quarry alive. He doesn't remember what happened, but Alison drowned and everyone blamed him for it - though, hypocritical prudes that the townsfolk were, they felt the girl had it coming.
Now, twenty years later, Miles has returned to honor the pact. With his return comes a shocking wave of serial murders and abductions - all of young girls of Alison's age and appearance. Suspicion falls upon him, and Miles has a knack for making it all worse. He's ruffling a lot of feathers, figuring out what really happened to Alison all those years ago. And before long, he's got much bigger worries than being the prime suspect in the most horrific crimes Arden has ever seen - because it seems someone is trying to kill him...
This is a flawed novel, but it's a great flawed novel. Written between his debut book, Julia, and his most popular work, Ghost Story, Straub's If You Could See Me Now is a bridge between his supernatural horror fiction and his later Blue Rose murder mystery trilogy. The suspense in this book is superior, never letting up and continually adding new surprises in plot development.
The book is thematically rich, and could easily become the subject of any number of contemporary literature research papers. It is mostly a murder mystery, and a well-written one at that. The supernatural element in the story is ill-explained and seems somewhat inconsistent, yet it works. Alison's motivations are not understandable, though in large part Straub seems to have intended her character to be enigmatic - her name, and her method of manifestation, suggest a change in her akin to becoming some sort of perverse nature elemental.
If you like suspense - supernatural, or more mundane crime melodrama - this is the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straub hits one out of the park.... Aug. 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great story that Straub tells very well and in a rare book, does not "over-write" or become overly wordy, the only fault I can find with Straub's writing.
Straub is a master craftsman and a very good storyteller, but like I said his books sometimes get "wordy". However, here he has not encountered that and writes a great "short novel" about going home and dredging up the past.
This is an easy read and flows smoothly, however Miles is just clueless. He gets in all types of trouble and seems to have no common sense at all. He is not one of Straub's more memorable characters.
Still, two thumbs way way up!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ghoulish & Ambient But Unsatisfying On The Whole Dec 11 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In order to get some R&R and finish his thesis onD.H. Lawrence, Miles Teagarden, an English professor from New York,goes back to the tiny town in rural Wisconsin where he spent hisboyhood summers. The very night he arrives, teenaged girls begin to gomissing, only to be found raped, mutilated and murdered. The localsimmediately begin to harrass and bully Miles, suspecting him ofinvolvement.
At this point, I was wondering "gee, why is thistown so mean?" And I couldn't figure out why Miles wasn'twondering the same thing. Instead, he spends his time shoplifting andpretending to write his book while obsessing over his cousin. During aromantic interlude when they were 14, he and his cousin Alison hadmade a promise to meet again in the small town after exactly twentyyears, when they were all grown up. Now, here it is, just a few daysaway from that date. A trip to visit his spooky witchy spinster auntreveals the reason behind the townfolks' suspicions. It seems thatMiles has forgotten that his cousin Alison died during that veryromantic interlude, having been raped, beaten and drowned. ThoughMiles was never charged for the death, he was never welcome in thetown again.
Miles feels certain that Alison's murder is somehowconnected to the recent rash of murders. He wonders if it's the samekiller. But he also suspects his niece's creepy boyfriend, who has apenchant for sexual sadism, a cracked sense of intellectual vigor anda deep admiration for Hitler. Even though his neighbors arevandalizing his car and threatening his person he decides to stay intown until the anniversary of his date with Alison. He figures she'llreappear and be able to explain it all.
Essentially, the things thattake place in the novel have little to do with the plot.
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