Eleven-year-old Jane Grandison, tormented by her stutter, sits in the back seat of a car, letter in hand inviting her to live and study at the Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children. Founded in 1890 by Headmistress Sybil Joines, the school—at first glance—is a sanctuary for children seeking to cure their speech impediments. Inspired by her haunted and tragic childhood, the Headmistress has other ideas.
Pioneering the field of necrophysics, the Headmistress harnesses the “gift” she and her students possess. Through their stutters, together they have the ability to channel ghostly voices communicating from the land of the dead, a realm the Headmistress herself visits at will. Things change for the school and the Headmistress when a student disappears, attracting attention from parents and police alike.
Set in the overlapping worlds of the living and the dead, Shelley Jackson’s Riddance is an illuminated novel told through theoretical writings in necrophysics, the Headmistress’s dispatches from the land of the dead, and Jane’s evolving life as Joines’s new stenographer and central figure in the Vocational School’s mysterious present, as well as its future. (From Goodreads)
Thank you Catapult Books for gifting me a copy of this book, in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.
Visually this book is stunning, Linguistically this book is stunning. It is a large books, with pages that felt silky. This was overall just a beauty. I loved all the added touches, like the photos, and letters. It made for a very unique reading experience.
This book was weird, and dark, and creepy. I say that in the best way possible. I was a bit apprehensive to start this one, A. Because of its size and B. Because I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d even enjoy reading. When I was approached about reading it, it was because I had read “The Third Hotel” and if you have read that one, or read my review, you would know that I found that one weird, yet good too. These two are definitely not books I could read on a daily basis.
I kind of felt like I was at a murder mystery theater, and I was watching this story unfold before my eyes. I liked the mysterious ways in which Jackson wrote this story, and the alternating chapters were a very nice touch. It added an extra element to this creep-tastic, perfect for October read. This was also my first Shelley Jackson read, and I would most definitely read something else of hers.