We're delighted to be wishing Alison MacLeod a very happy book birthday. Her short story collection, All The Beloved Ghosts is out today.
The acutely observed, evocative collection from the Man Booker Prize-longlisted author of Unexploded, blends fiction, biography and memoir.
Hovering on the border of life and death, these stories form a ground-shifting collection, taking us into history, literature and the hidden lives of iconic figures.
In 1920s Nova Scotia, as winter begins to thaw, a woman emerges from mourning and wears a new fur coat to a dance that will change everything. A teenager searches for his lover on a charged summer evening in 2011, as around him London erupts in anger. A cardiac specialist lingers on the edge of consciousness as he awaits a new heart – and is transported to an attic room half a century ago. In an ancient Yorkshire churchyard, the author visits Sylvia Plath's grave and makes an unexpected connection across time. On a trip to Brighton, reluctant jihadists face the ultimate spiritual test. And at Charleston, Angelica Garnett, child of the Bloomsbury Group, is overcome by the past, all the beloved ghosts that spring to life before her eyes.
Precise, playful and evocative, these exquisitely crafted stories explore memory, the media and mortality, unfolding at the line between reality and fiction. Written with vigorous intelligence and delicate insight, this collection captures the surprising joys, small tragedies and profound truths of existence.
Kirkus Reviews says of the stories - "[they] are written in striking prose that seamlessly blends the real with the fictive, tapping into the unknown with compassion and genuine human emotion.
A uniquely cohesive collection of short examinations of aging, death, and living, these stories are subtly moving and thoroughly engaging."