Sunday, October 22

Puccini's Ghosts by Morag Joss

Review by Theodore Feit

Lila Duncan, at age 40, returns to the west coast Scottish seacoast town of her earliest years upon the death of her 85-year-old father, to bury him, thus setting off this psychological suspense story told in alternating chapters: one in sort of real time as seen by the 15-year-old Lila, the other in a series of combined memories and actual occurrences.

 

The story begins with descriptions of Lila's dysfunctional family, slowly unfolding layer by layer its secrets and foibles.  Against these revelations—is it fantasy or reality?—we are introduced to the creation of a preposterous amateur production of the Puccini opera, Turandot.

 

As the chapters progress, we learn little pieces of background, which build to a shocking conclusion.  While this reader found the novel slow reading, and oft-times plodding, this criticism is in no way meant to detract from the depth and subtlety of the narrative.

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