BOOK REVIEW: THE GHOSTS OF HEAVEN / AUTHOR: MARCUS SEDGWICK / PUBLISHER: JO FLETCHER BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 25TH
We have come to expect intelligent yet accessible work from Marcus Sedgwick; his previous book, Midwinterblood, was impressively haunting, disturbing, yet very easy to get into. His latest novel, The Ghosts of Heaven, is in fact four novellas. Although presented in chronological sequence, they can be read in any order, each one fitting on top of the others perfectly to form one whole tale in a way which Sedgwick likens to a spiral.
Tackling them as they appear in the book, the first tale is set in the far past. We meet a cave-girl who learns to understand the importance of memory, perceiving the stories people tell each other as magic. She is a seeker of wisdom and this follows on nicely to the next story, which is an adventure of a woman who is wise. The 17th century society she lives in, however, is far from understanding and it is their fear and greed she has to cope with, all the while clinging onto the few memories she holds as precious. Our third tale is set in the 1920s and is a tragedy of insanity, obsession, forgotten wisdom and an abandonment of sense. The final story takes place in the far future and concerns a man stuck aboard a spaceship called the Song of Destiny. Woken up for a short while every decade, his experiences are also ones of forgotten moments, poorly understood revelations and loss.
Each story reflects the last and also adds meaning to the story that follows. Sedgwick’s writing is easy to comprehend yet is also heavily textured. Key elements in each story resonate throughout the work, and common themes emerge naturally. This is a lesson in perception and meaning and though more learned readers may find some of the plotlines a little bit too obvious, it’s still an extremely enjoyable journey, and one that should fascinate mature minds of all ages.