The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Pages: 360
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.
 Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession. --Goodreads
A stick carves shapes into the sand.  A noose swings in the wind.  A staircase reaches for the sky.  A government tells a lie.  In these four episodes, there is something that connects them each.  They will be connected forever.  History will repeat itself and time will continue—but time will not continue in a straight line.

I picked this up for three reasons.  The cover is gorgeous and it made me ask a bunch of questions because the synopsis was certainly not telling me much.  I found a copy on the clearance rack in the store.  And I was persuaded by Jesse, a booktuber, who mentioned how cool the book sounded. 
Usually, I love going into books blind—not knowing what they are about.  With this one, going in blind is not a good idea.  For most of The Ghosts of Heaven, I had no clue what was going on and where this was leading me.

I, originally, wanted to write four separate reviews to closely touch upon each story in the book but after starting the book, I found that that would be no help to anyone.  Sedgwick tells The Ghosts of Heaven in four parts, called quarters, and explains a different period of time.  What he has created here is quite genius but sort of pointless.  Each quarter gives readers glimpses of people’s lives.  However, we never grow close enough to feel any sort of emotion to them when anything happens.  There is a faint story, happening in the background, but the point of it all is only revealed at the end of the book. 

Sedgwick ends Ghosts in such a way that I would love to bump up my rating to four stars but I just can’t with the simplistic plot.  Unfortunately, there was not enough plot, nothing grabbed me, and nothing rooted me to the pages.  The first quarter tells readers of a cave woman about to get her “big break” in drawing pictures on a cave wall.  The second tells the story of a woman who is accused of being a witch, during the end of The Witch Trials.  The third quarter takes place in the early 1930s, on Long Island, with a luxurious but wicked asylum as the backdrop.  The fourth quarter, which is by far the most interesting (and where readers get all the answers), is set in the far-off future on a spaceship, shuttling toward a new Earth.  All of these stories have a terribly simple but clever connection.

If you are into philosophy and non-fiction, give The Ghosts of Heaven a go.  I didn’t like it as much as I would have hoped.  However, this book will blow someone’s mind.

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  1. Ah, well, this worked for me because I am into philosophic books. It's now one of my all-time favourites! Lol, but different folks, different strokes, isn't it?

    Vane at Books With Chemistry