Paper Ghosts - lyrical unpredictability from Ms Heaberlin
This is my first Julia Heaberlin novel and as such what an introduction to such clever and evocative writing.
I've enjoyed many books I've read recently but usually you always know, within a few twists, where the story is going. With this one, I didn't have a clue.
And I found it all the more absorbing for that. Julia's writing just flows off the page and into your mind like lots of little Peter Pans, some amusing, some naughty, some very worrying but always memorable.
Unusually, I didn't skip a single word on the page, such was my enjoyment. Beautifully constructed, as I got further into the book, I did start to worry that the ending would be a huge, Hollywood-style disappointment, but no. I even had tears in my eyes as I read the last page. Both for fondness of the characters and the author.
The story also brings to life the inconsolable pain and obsession that grief can lead otherwise happy, healthy individuals to embrace, taking their lives completely off track. Mundane details are left out completely, others are revealed only after you've been reading for a long time and haven't even realised they haven't been filled in - I loved that too. Real life rarely gives us the whole story and almost never when we're expecting it, so why should fiction.
Billed as a chilling thriller, I'd recommend it to anyone who loves good writing, as at its heart, this is a story of believable, hurting, human people and certainly not a run-of-the-mill whodunnit.
'I bang with my fist this time.
"Carl, are you OK?"
The knob twists easily.
The room is empty.
The faucet is running.
So, I realize, is Carl.'
As a delightful bonus, this book is full of smart, laugh-out-loud moments.