Carnegie Longlist 2016 · Carnegie Nominations 2016 · Carnegie Shortlist 2016

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

‘The Ghosts of Heaven’ has been split into four parts and can be read in any order. The first story is following a girl in pre-historic times; the second is about a young woman called Anna who is accused of witchcraft in the 1630’s; the third is the story of a therapist working at an asylum in New York in the 1920’s and the fourth is set in the future and follows the journey of a man travelling through space to find the New Earth and is only woken up every 10 years to maintain the ship. I started with the second story and carried on reading it three, four and finally back to one. I only started on the second part because the first story was written in a free verse style which takes me a little bit longer to get in to.

Having previously read Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood, which is written in a similar style of different interlocking stories, I had high expectations of the quality of writing. Sedgwick has a beautiful way of writing in which you are sucked straight into the story and he can develop characters in a short space of time which is of course necessary with this style of book.

I’m really looking forward to discussing this book during our Carnegie Greenaway lunch this year. I’m intrigued to find out what other people thought, especially the significance of the spiral and whether reading it in a different order changed its meaning in any way.

I think in the end I loved each story based on its own merit but was left a little bit confused about how they all linked together and will definitely be reading it again before the discussions. I’m hoping this is one of those books which merits from being read at least a couple of times, the more you read it the more ideas and links you will pick up on.

Reviewed by Jodie


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