Word of the day: Disembodied

From Daily Writing Tips, vis The Passive Voice, this:

In a very interesting BBC News article about ancient gardens, the writer describes an ancient relief that shows the vegetation-loving but brutal ruler Ashurbanipal and his wife reclining under a grapevine.

It’s an archetypal garden paradise—that is, except for the disembodied head of an enemy, which is hanging from a nearby tree.

The writer seems to think that disembodied—like dismembereddecapitated, and severed—has something to do with cutting off body parts.

I enjoyed this post, which brought to mind a word that I think I may somehow never have used myself. Disembodied. That’s a great word. Maybe I have used it. Not, I hope, as a putative synonym for dismembered. Not that there’s anything wrong with that word either, however distinct the meaning may be.

Given that I’ve chosen “disembodied” as my word of the day, what’s your favorite ghost story? Bonus if you’ve got a ghost story that may perhaps be a farther under the radar than it deserves. I’ve got one:

I really enjoyed this trilogy by Deb Coates. Here’s the description from Amazon:

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days’ compassionate leave, her sister Dell’s ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her. The sheriff says that Dell’s death was suicide, but Hallie doesn’t believe it. Something happened or Dell’s ghost wouldn’t still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell’s loss, think Hallie’s letting her grief interfere with her judgment. The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn’t have to. As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone’s trying to beat her up, burn down her father’s ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie’s going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

I particularly liked Hallie’s father. He is basically inarticulate and Coates builds his character with his silence, which is at least as demanding as building a character through witty repartee. He is actually one of my favorite secondary character in the series.

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6 thoughts on “Word of the day: Disembodied”

  1. The Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron

    A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

  2. Ha! I literally just wrote to a bunch of writer friends asking “What is the name of that book that is UF but takes place somewhere like Nebraska and has to do with death or ghosts with a female MC…” and they came back with Wide Open, which is the book I was trying to think of. It must have been in the air.

    What about Silence by Michelle Sagara? I think I only read the first book in the series, but it’s mostly about friendship and ghosts IIRC. Unlike most of her other books, it’s YA.

    Also the word “dismembered” will forever remind me of my ex-husband, whose first language was not English, who once told me “The band was dismembered” meaning, of course, that the band had broken up, not that its members had been torn limb from limb.

  3. From the thumbnail description, I’d finger Boyd Davies for the murderer right away.

  4. I liked that whole series better than anything else I’ve read by Sagara West, but I should add, some aspects of the ending bothered me a little. I still enjoyed it very much though!

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