The Ghosts of Heaven
Summary:The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.
It's there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.
Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin...
Ever since I finished the last sentence of The Ghosts of Heaven, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It’s been a week since I’ve finished it, and the thoughts are still going around and around in my head. My initial reaction upon finishing it was complete confusion, but after a week of reflection, I think I finally understand what Sedgwick was trying to convey with this story. And the message he is trying to send is both thought-provoking and enticingly brilliant.
This is not an easy read, emotionally or intellectually. It ponders quite a bit of thinking and is certainly a story that should not be read if you’re looking purely for entertainment. In a sense, this is a combination of four short stories: three set in the past and one set in the future.
Whispers in the Dark
Whispers in the Dark is the story of a young girl in prehistoric times as she creates the first known alphabet. Unfortunately for me, I think this was my least favorite story. By no means was it a bad story, but it was written in a style that just wasn’t up my alley: freelance poetry. While I appreciated the beautiful language and metaphors scattered throughout, it just didn’t click with me the way I wanted it to because of that style.
The Witch in the Water
The Witch in the Water is unforgettable, and I think it’s my second favorite story of the collection. It’s the story of a young girl named Anna, who lives in a small Puritan village – and what happens when she’s accused of witchcraft. The story is simple and not unlike what we read in history textbooks over and over again when studying the Salem Witch Trials, but its impact is as brilliant and profound as ever.
The Easiest Room in Hell
The Easiest Room in Hell is, to put it lightly, extremely strange – much like the overall book itself. Set in the early twentieth century, The Easiest Room in Hell follows a poet who volunteers to work at a mental asylum, and the conspiracies he unravels there. The atmosphere in this story is what truly stands out, however. The eerie asylum is as creepy as ever, and there will undoubtedly be chills going through your body as you witness this odd and sinister hospital.
The Song of Destiny
The Song of Destiny is easily my favorite of the four stories presented here. It ties up the stories and reveals the brilliant connection between them. Set in the future, it is the story of a man who has volunteered to be part of the first cross-space exploration as humanity prepares to colonize an Earthlike planet thousands of lightyears away; and how the mission goes terribly wrong.
Some of my favorite books are those that require reflection and a lot of thinking. The Ghosts of Heaven is exactly that, and if you want something sophisticated and genre-binding, look no farther. I know I loved it.