Title: The Ghosts of Heaven
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
No. of Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Origins: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: 6 January 2015
Bottom Line: What a fantastic way to start out the new year!
“Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect the four episodes of The Ghosts of Heaven, the mesmerizing new novel from Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick. They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world. Each of the characters in these mysterious linked stories embarks on a journey of discovery and survival; carried forward through the spiral of time, none will return to the same place.”
Thoughts: There is a note at the beginning of The Ghosts of Heaven with instructions from Mr. Sedgwick on the reading order and the fact that there really is no particular order in which the individual stories need to be read. This may appear an odd statement at first because the stories do connect. It is upon finishing all four quarters though in which the instructions and Mr. Sedgwick’s intent not only make sense but reveal themselves to be master strokes of writing, not only within the connectivity of the four stories brilliantly woven together, but the theme of spirals really comes to the fore.
In addition to all of that bookish goodness, there is the fact that the individual stories are entertaining and extremely well-written as stand-alone pieces. Suspenseful, intense and very enlightening, they make for great reading. In each, Mr. Sedgwick plays with the narrative format to differentiate each story. From the lyrical poem of Quarter 1 to the first-person narration of Quarter 3, not only are they completely unique but they also showcase Mr. Sedgwick’s writing skills.
One thing is for certain; The Ghosts of Heaven packs a powerful punch into each of its four stories, including chilling messages, fully developed characters, and beautifully-wrought settings. The spiral theme is a gorgeous study of nature’s laws and its impact on human behavior, however unconscious. The four stories also explore the range of human experience and emotion, from primitive man all the way to the future of mankind. It is not just an absolutely fantastic novel but an impressive story for this time of year in which one is already inclined to reflection.