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
In college, as a history major (and semi-polisci before I dropped it) I had to read a lot of text that went over my head or made me feel stupid. The joys of having to read dense text that often put one to sleep. I found The Ghosts of Heaven fascinating in the fact, from the beginning, Sedgwick tells you that you can read the four parts of this novel completely out of order, or the order that it is given. That almost never happens and I enjoy when books mix things up.
However, the book quickly went downhill for me. The first part was told in verse, and since I’m being honest, verse novels almost never work for me. Then the second part is about a witch hunt, part three quickly segways into an insane asylum, and part four, well part four I’m still not sure about. I found this book fairly hard to slog through and believe that there is a reader out there for it, I am just not that reader.
While the writing is beautiful and sparse and I will never look at a spiral again the same way, I wanted..more? I would have happily read more of part two. I found the witch hunt fascinating, but I spent so much of this book wanting more, that by the end I was very much “OH THANK GOD IT IS OVER.” I feel that Sedgwick was trying too hard throughout this book, and there is nothing wrong with that if it works. But this did not work for me one bit.