Friday, March 16, 2018

Short Book Reviews: An Extraordinary Ghost Story from Seanan McGuire

Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)

It’s been wonderful to watch Seanan McGuire mature as a writer. For someone so prolific, her work is consistently entertaining and more and more rises to the truly memorable. Her outstanding novella, Every Heart a Doorway, won multiple awards, including the Hugo and the Nebula. Her innovative, deeply moving ghost story, Sparrow Hill Road, is just as good, although in a different way. 

She begins the with legend of Rose Marshall, the Prom Date ghost, the Girl in the Diner, a hitch hiking spirit who is drawn to people soon to be involved in fatal accidents, and who sometimes manages to prevent their deaths. She’s no ordinary ghost but a psychopomp, who guides the spirits of those she cannot save to the next stage of their journeys. 

The story proceeds like a chambered nautilus, sometimes spiraling back on itself, jumping back and forth in time to weave together the threads of the story until we come to the crux of Rose’s ghosthood, how she died, and who killed her. Absorbing, wise, funny, and tragic, all in all a superbly executed ghostly tale.

The usual disclaimer: This review is in response to a complimentary review copy and contains nothing but my own demented opinions.

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