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Ghostwalk Paperback – June 3, 2008
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From The New Yorker
Top Customer Reviews
The story is told in flashback. Lydia, the first person narrator, is apparently recovering from a severe shock. By putting her thoughts in order, she may be attempting to clarify whatever happened that made her suddenly start believing in the supernatural. As a result of her work on Elizabeth's manuscript, Lydia realizes that the past can never completely be laid to rest. It is "like a stain in an old stone wall that seeps through the plaster." Elizabeth was immersed in the seventeenth century, and something or someone from that century may have killed her.
This story has three interwoven threads: one is the tangled relationship between Lydia and Elizabeth's son, Cameron. In spite of the fact that he is married, Cameron is a philanderer who has a long romantic history with Lydia. Although she left him before, Lydia cannot bring herself to reject Cameron when he reenters her life. The second is a series of ever-escalating attacks allegedly carried out by animal rights activists against Cameron (a neuroscientist and a fellow of Trinity College) and his colleagues, all of whom engage in animal experimentation. The third deals with Elizabeth's inquiries into Newton's life and work.Read more ›
Any powerful writing by the author, however, gets lost in her many literary devices; devices which do not serve the story, but rather hinder it. The worst device is her annoying use of the second person point of view which serves no purpose except to distance the reader from the story. I felt like an interloper eavesdropping on the conversation between the narrator and her lover. When the writer switched to third person, it really pulled me out of the story. Not exactly the "suspension of disbelief" which fiction aims for. Other counterproductive literary devices included flashbacks embedded within flashbacks and way, way overwrought symbolism.
I also found it irritating that the narrator was so aloof and "above it all." I felt no sympathy for her, no emotional connection. Although we know her thoughts, we are not privy to her feelings. My gosh--she is being haunted by ghosts--can't we have a wee bit of terror? She accepts the haunting as if it were the morning dew on the grass.
Would I buy this book again? No. Read only if you are into literature which is written for its own sake, rather than with a reader in mind.
The reader soon realizes what Lydia refuses to recognize: Elizabeth's son, Cameron Brown, Lydia's lover for a decade past, is a major element of the process in the studio. So the process she is consciously working on is not the process actually in motion. Lydia is not the alchemist here; that is Elizabeth - or, more precisely, the historical past. Lydia and Cameron are the elements in the chemical marriage. The really brilliant decision to narrate the novel as first-person directly addressed to Cameron underscores this.
But for the great work to succeed, the elements and the adept must be pure, a point Stott makes with the Isaac Newton material. No one is pure in this novel. Lydia lies to herself, to her friends, to Cameron, lies unnecessarily, casually almost. Cameron lies enormously, to everyone, and cheats cruelly, as well as undertaking a truly wicked course of action. And yet, perhaps the most impure element here is Elizabeth - as a metaphor for the past -- whose unexplained death opens the book.Read more ›
Modern day Cambridge is the repository of such arcane details. Elizabeth Vogelsang has dedicated years of her life to the study of Newton's accomplishments and is on the verge of an explosive discovery that will shock academia, tracking his movements like a modern day detective through the 17th century, identifying his close associates, questioning their loyalty to the cause and the mysterious deaths of five people at Trinity College. When Elizabeth is found dead near her cottage, the Studio, it is her son, Cameron Brown, who discovers the body. Since Elizabeth's book on Newton and alchemy is nearly finished, Cameron asks his former lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the final chapters, so that his mother's work may not be in vain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book surprised me in how much I liked it, read it in 2 sittings. I'm usually not at all interested in science but love mysteries and Stott combined them in a way that almost... Read morePublished 17 months ago by C. Smith
Wow! What a great read. As a scientist, I especially found it interesting, but it is a mystery, intelligently written that will please most readers. Hard to put down or to forget.Published 18 months ago by Judemeister
Great thriller, authentic in its historical research. At times a bit difficult to follow but worth the effort. Good read.Published on June 23, 2014 by Judith Slagle
I greatly enjoyed this book. I honestly did not expect much, when I first began reading it, but it sucked me in very slowly, delicately, like spider silk weaving around me and... Read morePublished on June 15, 2014 by Madge
"Glass, alchemy and politics. You couldn't separate them out in the 1660's"
Rebecca Stott makes the case that you couldn't separate out science and alchemy at... Read more
I'm surprised at all the negative reviews this book has garnered. I loved it. Stott writes beautifully and the characters, story line and subject matter were all interesting. Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by GFW
A pretty good read, with some fine and evocative writing. Ghost story about Isaac Newton, his dabbling in alchemy and relations with the secret movement of alchemists, and parallel... Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by Stephen L. Bennett