Nominated by:

New Hampshire State Library, Concord, USA

The Seattle Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins USA

A Reunion of Ghosts

Judith Claire Mitchell    

In the waning days of 1999, the last of the Alters—three damaged but wisecracking sisters who share an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—decide it’s time to close the circle of the family curse by taking their own lives. But first, Lady, Vee, and Delph must explain the origins of that curse and how it has manifested throughout the preceding generations. Unspooling threads of history, personal memory, and family lore, they weave a mesmerizing account that stretches back a century to their great-grandfather, a brilliant scientist whose professional triumph became the terrible legacy that defines them. A suicide note crafted by three bright, funny women, A Reunion of Ghosts is the final chapter of a saga lifetimes in the making—one that is inexorably intertwined with the story of the twentieth century itself.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Judith Claire Mitchell, author of the novel The Last Day of the War and A Renunion of Ghosts is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Mitchell has received fellowships from the James A. Michener/Copernicus Society, Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Wisconsin Arts Board, and elsewhere. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Librarians’ Comments

A Renunion of Ghosts is a darkly humorous multi-generational story about a “cursed” family legacy that began in WW1.

A darkly comedic story of three sisters who pledge to commit suicide on the same day, but decide to first write the history of their cursed family, weaving family history with a wide swath of 20th century history. Mitchell’s exploitation of family guilt through generations of voices is stunning.

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