I’ve been thinking for about a month how to review The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick because this book left me speechless, feeling inadequate to process what I just read. It’s all about spirals, and spirals are awesome, dude.
Let’s start with the easy part: the book is divided into four stories that are all interconnected and at the same time they’re completely independent from one another. They can be read in any order (I did read them in the order the book proposes). The first one, written in free-verse, tells the story of a hunter-and-gatherer girl who wants to become a shaman. The second follows Anna, who her villages decides to be a witch. In the third, a patient in a mental hospital and his doctor form a strange bond. The last one is set aboard a spaceship on a mission to bring sleeping humans to a better world. These stories are connected by the symbolism of the spiral, the ever-lasting symbol of… of what? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Maybe. Or maybe you won’t find out. I’m not quite sure. Maybe there’s nothing to find out. Maybe it’s everything.
The Ghosts of Heaven is unlike any book I’ve ever read, greatly impressed me, and I still think about how bewildered I felt when I finished it and how the book made me space out several times while I read it. Having four different perspectives in one book is a challenge, and one that can lead to difficulties in differentiating enough in voice and style for the different perspectives. This is certainly not the case here. Marcus Sedgwick has beautifully crafted four very distinct stories that still feel like they belong together.
I did not want to finish reading The Ghosts of Heaven but when I did finish, it felt complete. I felt complete. The spiral felt complete.
Title: The Ghosts of Heaven Author: Marcus Sedgwick First published: 2014