Mrs Zant has recently lost her beloved husband, and while walking in the Kensington Gardens, the spot where she and her deceased husband declared their love for each other, she feels his presence trying to warn her of some coming danger.
Mr Rayburn witnesses it all, and he'll have to fight his own incredulity regarding the supernatural and his gut feeling that the disturbed young woman is telling the truth.
Brought to life by Golden Globe Award-winning actress Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Mrs Zant is the perfect Victorian ghost story.
Public Domain (P)2015 Audible Studios
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
Gillian Anderson's narration of this story really shines. The story itself is good but I believe her narration takes it to a whole other level. I
St. Louis, Missouri
Ever since I listened, mesmerized, to The Woman in White I’ve been intrigued by Wilkie Collins. A protégé of none other than Charles Dickens, he’s the sort of writer who, at his very best, makes you wish he had written a great deal more. He did, but he seems, at least according to my slender knowledge, to have failed to live up to the full promise of his talent. Though the flow of work continued to his death, the consistent excellence achieved in the 1860’s (The Woman in White, No Name, Armadale and The Moonstone) was not sustained through the last two decades of his life.
The death of his mentor in 1870 and an addiction to laudanum, which Collins first took to relieve severe gout, are usually blamed for the decline in the quality of his work. As sad as all that is, it leaves the person who wants to hear more of Collins in something of a quandary. I have The Moonstone and I can’t wait to hear it. But after Moonstone I will have run through Collins’ best-of hit parade. As far as I can tell, no recordings have been made of No Name or Armadale. So I hesitate to embark on the last of the best, knowing there’s nothing after that. Silly? I know, I know.
Plan B? I dither with lesser works, hoping that when the critics call his output “uneven” that implies there are still a few high spots. The good news is, there are. And Mrs. Zant and the Ghost is one of them.
I didn’t know the trajectory of Collins’ career when I picked up his “The Haunted Hotel” (1879) on sale late last year. My disappointment with that novella lead me to seek the explanation of how the author of The Woman in White could turn out something so muddled. Grabbing Mrs. Zant and the Ghost—a story that I assume, since I can find no bibliography that includes it, is part of the collection “The Ghost’s Touch and Other Stories” (1885)—was taking another risk, of course. But at an hour and 38 minutes the time commitment was minimal and at “free” (to Audible members and non-members alike) the price was right.
Like Woman in White, our protagonist is drawn into a strange situation quite accidentally. The unsettling weirdness that pervades the story is generated, as in Woman in White, by an inability on the part of the characters—and the reader/listener—to determine if the threat they sense is real or simply imagined. If real, something should be done and done quickly. But if imagined, acting would mean throwing outrageous charges at innocent people, making our protagonist look ridiculous or worse. The essential elements that make a “sensational” work by Collins so sensational are here. Added goose: unlike The Haunted Hotel, in this story he manages to make a ghostly visit feel authentic. By comparison, the floating head in Haunted Hotel looks like something strung up in a suburban front yard to startle the kids on Halloween night. Finally, if this story belongs to that 1885 collection, then Collins was also resisting an impulse to serious social commentary that harmed the popularity of his later output. I enjoy authors with a point of view. I avoid those who wave an agenda.
Gillian Anderson, does a fine job with all this. My only criticism may be rooted not in her performance but in my circumstances; I usually listen on the train to and from work. Especially on the way home, what with the gentle swaying of the cars and the 8 or 9 hours of work that just wound up, her soft, gentle, insinuating delivery threw a soporific veil over me more than a few times. I don’t think that, ensconced in an easy chair with something to drink at one’s elbow, that delivery, so perfectly modulated to the tenor of the writing, would pose the same problem.
The writing was tender and the narrator respected this. Both brought out the sentimental in me. I found the piece to be sensual, the way the author allowed me to know the thoughts and feelings of the characters, especially since it was on the backdrop of a time when, to my knowledge, communicating such things was not done.
Sometimes a Victorian story hits the spot. Once you get past the rather overwrought prose and the silly manners of that era and realize it is a product of its time, the story is kind of fun. I do wish the end had tied things up more neatly and that the narration was a bit more expressive, but for a short story, it was worth the time
Active lifestyle so audiobooks fit in with nearly everything I'm doing.
A good short and mysterious story that should not be confused with The Ghost and Mrs Muir (I say this because I did and thought it would be a bit lighthearted). I was pleased with the narrator's ability to capture the overall mood of the tale in a slow, deliberate pace and somber attitude. Published in 1885 it likely would have been considered a horror story but in today's world it is a nice ghostly classic tale. Enjoy.
The ending leaves one up in the air. The ending left a lot to be desired.
Great story and Gillian Anderson's voice is fantastic.
A brilliant short story well narrated.
"silky tones over a victorian ghosty"
not terrible,reminiscent of good victorian ghostys I used to read as a child but now not realy my thing, Gillian lulled me to sleep on several eves though so worthy))
A monotonous and strange narration from Anderson. Breathy and rather odd.
I think the intention of as spooky, but it just comes across as exasperating and completely devoid of emotion.
Very disappointed for someone overall, as this meant the whole story was slightly lost as it was hard to get away from the distracting tone.
"my first audible book"
Interesting writing style I have no idea if people have really ever behaved in the way the character's are portrayed or if this is simply how we would like to look back at history but fun to listen to for an hour or so.
"Charming & relaxing"
Really charming short story for quiet peaceful evening home alone. Thoroughly enjoyable but, I was left wondering about the poor dog!
An understated ghost story with more interesting living characters than the dead. The titular Mrs Zant was reminiscent of Maud from Fingersmith and the other characters felt like Conan Doyle's, although in such a short story, lack of motivation and backstory left them feeling a little cardboard.
In this audiobook version, Gillian Anderson's narration was slow and with a ghostly, murmuring tone which gave an appropriately melancholy quality, although the pauses between dialogue and narrative were a little stilted.
"A ghost story made bewitching by the narrator"
Gillian Anderson has an almost unearthy quality to her voice and demeanour. She is thus the perfect narrator for this subtle and beautifully written ghost story. This is a real treat made even better by the fact it is currently offered as a free download on Audible. I strongly urge you to start the New Year on an excellent footing with this wonderful gift.
"Mrs Zant and the ghost"
I thort this short story ok but was not overly impressed I have listened to better
"Rather predictable story"
Typical Victorian drama, this short story is highly enjoyable, but it's no surprise ending! Gillian Anderson is well cast.
Possibly a slightly more lively narration. I'm actually a big fan of Gillian Anderson and I looked forward to hearing this as it was read by her. But for some reason she sounds very bored and slow reading this, with little expression - and it almost sent me to sleep. The story is old fashioned as is to be expected, but rather slow and not one of Wilkie Collins's best in my opinion. (And I do enjoy most of his stories and novels and others of that era in a similar vein.)
Something with a bit more life! I've just started The Shining Girls.
Peter Kenny? He makes everything sound interesting and is good with voices.
May be good to listen to in bed if you have trouble falling asleep!
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