A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.
Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet’s obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book’s final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick’s gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.
As other reviewers have pointed out this book is very difficult to rate and review. Sedgwick takes his reader on four different journeys which all share a common thread. I loved the idea behind the book and Sedgwick’s writing was beautiful as always.
The first story was my least favorite and this was probably because it was written in verse. I’ve not had luck with verse because I find it nearly impossible to connect to the characters. It was written well and was easy to read but I didn’t have the emotional response I’d have preferred. If you enjoy verse I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. The second story was an easier read for me but I was a tad underwhelmed with the storyline. This one centered around a young woman being accused of witch craft. I felt the story was a bit predictable. The writing was crisp and beautiful but it wasn’t enough to really have me love this story.
The last two stories turned the tide for me though. I found them both to be mesmerizing. The third story centers around a hospital for the mentally ill. I absolutely loved the storyline and main character. It was sufficiently creepy, fast paced and really beautifully done. The last story kept that momentum but turned the story to space. This one was so imaginative, horrifying and breathtaking. I want Sedgwick to write a full length book centered in space (has he done this yet? If so let me know!) Everything about the last story was amazing. It’s a must read even if it’s the only story you read from the book.
So, how do I rate this book since two stories fell flat but the other two were incredibly strong? I’d say try the first two but if they don’t grab you read the last two. I am eager to read more from Sedgwick since I’ve only read this and She Is Not Invisible.
Though the first two stories weren’t hits for me the last two makes this book worth owning. Each story was well done but the last two were breathtaking in their originality, elegant prose and haunting storyline. Once again I’m blown away with Sedgwick’s ability to construct a story and add his unique voice to all sorts of genres.