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The Ghosts of Heaven
by Marcus Sedgwick


Overview -

Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect the four episodes of The Ghosts of Heaven , the mesmerizing new novel from Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick. They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world.  Read more...


 
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More About The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
 
 
 
Overview

Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect the four episodes of The Ghosts of Heaven, the mesmerizing new novel from Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick. They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world. Each of the characters in these mysterious linked stories embarks on a journey of discovery and survival; carried forward through the spiral of time, none will return to the same place.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781626721258
  • ISBN-10: 1626721254
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 368
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-18


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Science Fiction

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-11-10
  • Reviewer: Staff

In a prehistoric era, a girl learns the secrets of the cave paintings that give her people their sustenance and identity. In 18th-century England, a priest campaigning against witchcraft and evil targets a young woman who inherits her mother’s role of a “gracewife,” drawing the village into the plot against her. At the beginning of the 20th century, a Lovecraft-inspired poet goes mad in a nightmarish East Coast asylum while a well-meaning student of “modern” psychology tries to help. And in the future, the steward of a deep-space colonization mission learns that his undertaking is rooted in a lie. This quartet of stories can be read in any order, readers are told, and they obliquely reference each other; a through-line exists in the mysterious and persistent imagery of the spiral, a central focus and fascination. Printz-winner Sedgwick (Midwinterblood) doesn’t shy from the tragedy inherent in human interaction; these are not cheerful stories, and their protagonists don’t fare well, although their deeds resonate in small ways through history. Readers who like untangling puzzles will enjoy parsing the threads knitting together this corkscrew of tales. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Different sides, one story

Marcus Sedgwick’s latest offering is the perfect book for readers who are still pondering the multiple paths in his Printz Award-winning Midwinterblood and are seeking something new to captivate and astound them.

The Ghosts of Heaven is divided into four parts, which might be four different stories or four parts of the same story. In settings as varied as a prehistoric cave, a gossipy village, an insane asylum on the cusp of modernity and a spaceship en route to other worlds, readers meet a series of eager but flawed characters. A girl yearns to make her mark with charcoal and powder; a teenage herbalist is helpless to stop the accusations of witchcraft that surround her; a doctor’s fears are echoed in his patients; and a space sentinel faces decisions that might affect all of eternity. The four stories are linked through a motif of spirals and helixes, geometric shapes that carry mathematical, artistic and spiritual significance.

Sedgwick advises readers that the four stories can be read in any of 24 different combinations. Like the spirals that follow humanity through space and time, readers of this unusual novel will find themselves turning in apparent circles, yet always ending up in a slightly different place from where they started.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews