Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
The Girl on the Glider is a ghost story by Brian Keene. It is a work of metafiction, with the author serving as protagonist. Metafiction, in a nutshell, is a type of postmodern fiction that blurs the line between fiction and reality usually using irony and self-reflection. In this example, the narrator is haunted by the ghost of a girl who died in a car accident in his front yard. Keene does not know who the girl is and why she is there, but her presence begins to consume his waking and unconscious mind. Ultimately, both must confront the reality they avoid.
Like most works of metafiction, The Girl on the Glider is a self-reflective narrative in which the author takes a good long and hard look at his life. It offers deep insight into how Brian Keene constructs his stories and the pressure he is under to constantly deliver. There is no glitz and glamor, but rather a man struggling with his finances and familial obligations.
By Keene’s own account, the tale is 99% true. Exactly where the story devolves into a work of fiction is revealed in the afterword and proves to be the most gut wrenching sequence in this relatively short novella.
Some have argued that The Girl on the Glider represents Keene’s best work to date. This is perhaps a stretch, but for fans, the opportunity to see inside the mind of one of their favorite horror authors certainly has appeal. Keene makes the reader feel at home while delving into personal feelings and revelations.
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