Published: Akashic Books - October 3rd, 2017
If you are trying to decide whether to read An Unkindness of Ghosts, look at the cover. Would you like to get to know the woman pictured there? She is not going to entertain you, and if her look is too intense, better stay away. But she will speak truth to you, a difficult, messy truth. This book is more than ambitious; it is the debut of the year. The author is absolutely certain of every step, every risk. It's strange, raw, a little mad, harshly sane.
Aster lives on a generational spaceship en route to a promised new planetary home. The decks of the Matilda are segregated in every way, with each deck virtually sealed off from the others, with its own dialect, customs, and knowledge; the upper decks are populated by the wealthy and pale, and each deck lower becomes progressively poorer and populated by darker-skinned people. Aster, a denizen of Q deck, is the assistant to the ship's surgeon, which gives her much more freedom than most to move between decks, while her deckmates are slaves in the great fields that feed the entire ship. When Aster discovers clues to her mother's suicide, her quest to understand what happened leads her to realizations that will alter the course of history. With parallels to today's world by turns uncomfortable, illuminating, painful, and hopeful, Aster's tale is full of metaphor and meaning.