The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.
It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.
Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…
The Ghosts of Heaven is mindblowing, thought provoking, unconventional, crazy even, but brilliant, a book that stands out as unique from all the others I’ve read.
The novel is comprised of four quarters that can be read in any order; the order they are in is the linear order, however, the novel encourages you to read it any way you like, whichever way makes the most sense to you. I read it in order, because I always feel a strange compulsion to read books from cover to cover, and it made a lot of sense to me that way. I wonder what it would be like to read them in a different order; what kind of sense would another order make?
Each quarter takes place in a different time and is written in a different style. From poetry to first person, the stories span from the dawn of mankind, to the middle ages, to the 1920s and the on to the far future. What links these stories together is characters striving for more, for a better future, for learning. They are connected through the themes of death and rebirth. And of course the spiral. Each interact with the spiral differently, each draw their own conclusions, find their own meaning. Because when reading the novel, you are asked to do just that – uncover the meaning of the spiral for yourself.
Upon finishing, you feel as if the world has shifted slightly, but then realise that no, it is you who have changed. For me, the book pushed me to think about life, existence and the universe in a slightly different way. I was left seeing spirals everywhere, both literally and metaphorically. They even came up in my philosophy class when we discussed how history is a spiral. And I didn’t even agree with the full extent of the message in the novel! But still. Spirals.
I am still in awe at this book. The idea behind it, the way it was executed… Brilliant. Genius. It doesn’t simply tell a story. It uses story as a medium to reveal a truth. Yet, it doesn’t neglect the story either; each individual story has strong characters and smart, slightly (well, perhaps more than slightly) twisty plots. You could read each section on its own as a short story and they would be complete and make sense. Story and message held in perfect balance paired with beautiful writing. The physical copy is gorgeous as well, with the cover that perfectly matches the content, blue edged pages, and art on the title page of each section.
Don’t be fooled by the young adult rating, it is one of those books that is impossible to categorize. If you want a book that will challenge you, a book that will expand your mind? Pick up The Ghosts of Heaven.