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.