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For Naomi Ash is a medium, and the daughter of a medium, who lives in a town founded and populated entirely by other mediums. From the beginning, she's been privy to all the tricks of her trade. Growing up in New Orleans, she helped her spiritualist mother by faking spirit voices through fans and, in one case, draping herself in a lace tablecloth as the ghost of a dead child. But what begins in fraud, she tells us, has ended "in something at least close to truthfulness":
I, for one, couldn't always disentangle the real from the fraudulent, the truth from its trappings. Sometimes it seemed as if my mother's fakery was just a more interesting and beautiful version of what was real. Sometimes it seemed that the truth needed the lies, as if there wouldn't be any truth without them. At any rate, whatever my mother was doing, it was a rare and powerful thing, perhaps even a form of magic. It enthralled me.After their move to Train Line, New York, a fairy tale Victorian village run slightly to seed, Naomi and her mother settle into working Psychic Faires and message services. Then Naomi meets Peter Morton, a graduate student on vacation, and falls in love; 10 years later, she's still paying the price.
First-time novelist Ellis produces lovely prose: "A lonely life is a crime without witnesses, it is a movie playing in a locked theater; can you ever really be sure what happens in it? Can you be sure that it happens at all?" At the same time, this author's writing can be willfully unglamorous: her characters have dirty hair and clothes with stains on them, and their world smells like ours, like fried things and wet earth and dirty lake water. In its mix of the mundane and the magical, After Life gets at some fundamental truths about the dead and those they leave behind. You don't have to believe in the spirit world to understand Naomi's final insight as a medium--or to know just how much it hurts: "He would never be completely gone, but he would never, ever be with me." --Greta Kline --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great characters, perfect amount of suspense, really excellent writing.Published 2 months ago by aj
This is a fun read! The setting is a time when 'spiritualism" was a popular interest and Oiji boards were the rage in a town full of "mediums."Published 3 months ago by kathryn jackson
AFTER LIFE has been one of the hardest book for me to rate since I've begun reading and reviewing books on Amazon Kindle. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Leigh Podgorski
This first novel by Ellis is about growing up in the world of spiritualism. Young Naomi helps her mother ply the tricks of a medium's trade at séances; she also accepts... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joe Da Rold
We have a standing rule in our ladies (18th year) book club that if job is all consuming, come as you can when we dine once a month. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Karen Carter Barrett
This book was an interesting character study. After reading the introduction, and learning that this is a book that is interpreted in many different ways, I was interested to see... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amanda