Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Published October 25, 2016 Ages 12-17
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.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve had many an existential crisis. Why am I here? Is this even real life? Am I living in the matrix? Is time travel possible? Is there other life out there? All valid questions, I’d like to think. So does Marcus Sedgwick. That is why his novel “The Ghosts of Heaven” is so refreshing. It’s formatted in a way I’ve never seen before, but the topic of the book is also one I’ve never thought of before. Spirals. Sedgwick’s entire novel is focused on a single shape. The spiral. It’s seen in prehistoric cave paintings, in medieval European villages, in an insane asylum by the sea and again on a space shuttle on route to a new Earth elsewhere in the galaxy. Sedgwick divides his story into four equally compelling and haunting parts. It’s hard to find words to describe an idea, but Sedgwick not only manages it, he has created an entirely new way of thinking. Not only is this book mesmerizing, thought provoking, and incredibly three dimensional, the prose itself is beautiful. This is a vivid masterpiece that everyone should read.