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The extraordinary – and haunting – life of Lafcadio Hearn

The author’s Japanese ghost stories brought him fame and fortune – but his own life was even stranger than fiction

16 September 2023

9:00 AM

16 September 2023

9:00 AM

The Outsider: The Life and Work of Lafcadio Hearn, the Man Who Introduced Voodoo, Creole Cooking and Japanese Ghosts to the World Steve Kemme

Tuttle, pp.272, 18.99

It’s a convoluted title for a book, but then Lafcadio Hearn – a widely travelled author and journalist who earned his greatest fame as an interpreter of Japanese horror stories – led a convoluted life. Born in 1850 from a difficult marriage between an Irish officer-surgeon and a wildly unpredictable noble-blooded Greek woman (his middle name, Lafcadio, was adopted from Lefkada, the name of the island where he was born), he was quickly abandoned by both.

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