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August 9th, 2019

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The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick

Second paragraph of first chapter of third part:
Verity's, to the south and the east. Between our two rooms is a third smaller bedroom with an easterly view which I will use as my study, and where I am writing now. I will put my desk in here when it arrives from New York. Otherwise all we have is a pair of suitcases each that made the journey with us. The Long Island Rail Road sped us as far as Greenport so that after these weeks of planning and letters to and fro, it is strange to arrive here so suddenly. Of course, from Greenport we still had some few miles out here, but Doctor Phillips had sent a man to meet us with a horse and buggy. Verity loved that, and I couldn't help smiling seeing her so happy. In New York we might just have climbed into a taxi, and though we are only a few hours away, it was a good reminder that things here are somewhat different.
This was one of the Clarke Award nominees which I put aside for later enjoyment. It's a set of four loosely connected stories, a girl in prehistoric times, a medieval young woman accused of witchcraft, a doctor in a nineteenth-century asylum, and a generation starship where the cold-sleep passengers start dying. They are all well written, especially the first which is more or less in verse form, with the recurring theme of a spiral echoing across the centuries. The author's foreword suggests that the four stories can be read in any order, but I don't think that's really true. I see that it was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal - and am interested that I didn't pick up on it being intended for a younger audience, if indeed it was. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2015. Next on that pile is A Close Run Thing, by Allan Mallinson.

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