Three sisters sit down to write one suicide note. Welcome to A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell. Who knew a book about sisters plotting their own suicide, the development of the gas used in concentration gas chambers and heartbreak could be so funny?
A Reunion of Ghosts is a delightful romp through the history of the 20th Century, with a special focus on war and science told through the experiences of the Alter family. This is a family plagued by death and destruction, oh and puns. It is a family saga that shows how the legacy of one individual can shape those generations down the line.
It reminded me very much of Jeffrey Eugenides without being like any one of his books exclusively. The sibling suicides obviously draws The Virgin Suicides to mind, and the multi-generational saga bears comparisons to Middlesex. But that is really as far as it goes. Mitchell has her own voice and is much funnier than Eugenides.
Who would like this book? The story of A Reunion of Ghosts is great. Notable figures of the 20th century like Einstein weave in and out of the narrative in a completely plausible way. And the writing is outstanding, mostly for its unabashed use of puns. It is a quick and fun read, while still being intelligent and thought provoking.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
I have this on my to be reviewed shelf and you’ve whetted my appetite nicely! The jacket you have is infinitely better than the rather insipid one on my proof, and sadly it looks like that’s going to be on the finished copy, too.
Yeah, the US cover is definitely better. And I loved the book. It is a fun and entertaining read, so get cracking!
This is on my TBR stack – glad to hear it’s funny!
I read another review of this book that asked the same question you did: how can a book about a triple suicide be funny? I’m definitely curious to read this book now.
That is a good question, but I don’t want to ruin the book for you. All i can say is that the characters are quirky and the word play is awesome.
Great to hear – it’s on hold at the moment at the library – just waiting for it to come in!
I hadn’t heard of this before, but it sounds great, and I really like that cover!
This sounds fantastic, and it’s the first I’ve heard of it. I love it when books weave bits of history/historical figures throughout its story. The word play sounds like fun, too! Thanks for the review!
I hadn’t heard of it either, but im glad i went with my gut and picked it up.
I need to stop reading your blog – your posts are contributing to way too many books being added to my TBR list. I’m with Naomi (again) – this book sounds fantastic and I hadn’t heard of it before. Now it’s on the list.
All blogs are bad for my TBR!
Dammit Tanya! The Princess and Naomi are right, this book sounds amazing. I hope I can get the cover you have. Also, The Princess and Naomi needs to become a children’s book. -Tania
The Princess & Naomi would be a great book!!
Wow, this sounds really interesting! Thanks for the review.
I really want to read this! Great review 🙂 *bumps book up the wishlist*
This sounds totally intriguing and just morbid enough to delight me. Weird but true!
I saw this book on Edelweiss and was really curious. And now I’m dying to get my hands on a copy. Great review!
I haven’t heard of this one; sounds like the author has a good sense of humor. Interesting comparison with Eugenides
Great job on shifting things around! My first thought was NO, I can’t handle more death and destruction but then you mention humor and puns and now, this back on my TBR list for next week. Thank you!
I seriously enjoyed it. Not the least bit depressing.
I really loved the writing in this story and also liked the historical setting, but somehow, the book as a whole still didn’t work for me. I felt like we knew the ending from the beginning and not much happened to the sisters in the middle. Even though the history was interesting, the plot seemed uneventful to me because there wasn’t much that happened in the present.
that seems to be a comment that many people have had. I think i was so taken with the word play, that i didn’t care so much about the content.