Author: Maisy Card
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 3. 2020
Book Review: A transporting debut novel that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the house boy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Review: This is a multi-generational novel in a similar vain to Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. This book opens when Stanford Solomon hires a home health aide who just happens to be his daughter, Irene. Irene is unaware of the possibility that her father is even alive. Solomon tells an unbelievable story and then sets the tone of what is to come.
We learn of his wife Vera, who became a widow, his daughters and grandchild. Along with this you get some additional stories of others that surround this family. But even more so, you will learn the deep history of this family history. Slavery is really just the start.
This book was just so engrossing, and the writing was just beautiful. From the first words I knew I was in for something really good. You might ask why 3 1/2 stars. I did find some of the stories, caused the book to lull, as I find with most short story collection or books with interconnected stories. You are just not that vested in everyone.
This book coming from a debut author is really something special. I can’t wait to see what else Maisy Card writes.
Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.