Zach Doyle is pretty sure that he’s dead. He doesn’t remember dying or what might have caused it. He just knows that he’s stuck watching his wife and children go through their daily routines without being able to communicate with them. They can’t see him. They can’t hear him. Nor can they feel his touches. His hands travel right through like wisps of smoke. His family is in the process of getting on with their lives without Zach and he’s stuck in limbo. Is this purgatory? Has there been a mistake? Did someone fall asleep at the switch and forget to collect his soul or is this how it’s supposed to be? Just when Zach thinks he’ll forever be a spectator unable to communicate with the living, the movers come to collect all of Zach’s belongings and the worker and his grandson can see him. Furthermore, they aren’t frightened at seeing a ghost. Can these people help him or is he destined to wander alone through this netherworld for eternity?
Williamson’s offering is a schizophrenic tale isn’t sure what it wants to be. Somewhere amongst all of the confusion is some interesting subjects that he seems to have a hard time focusing on. The idea of this poor guy not being able to communicate with his loved ones and watching his life try to assemble a love life again is a mix of so many strong emotions – frustration, sadness, despair, loneliness, and grief. That alone makes for a horrific journey for the reader. Unfortunately, Williamson didn’t anchor his focus here. He would bounce from what Zach was going through to the ESP ability of the movers, then onto some weird sidebar of a struggle for Zach’s soul by an angel and a demon, and then delve into some esoteric rambling about what he was going through. If you could cherry pick the interesting pieces out of Ghost, it would have the backbone of 2-3 good stories. I don’t know if Williamson was going through some midlife crisis at this period in his life, but it really made the flow of the story suffer. And even thought it sounds like I’m trashing the story, I’m really not. While it may not be his greatest tale that I’ve read of his, Williamson does offer up some interesting and thought provoking points to consider. They just so happen to be stuck in the middle of this schizophrenic soup.
3 Rattling Chains in the Attic out of 5
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