Today I am here to give you my book review of A Ghost’s Story, a spiritual mystery by Lorna Gibb, following the Katie King spirit and its various encounters with humankind.
A composition of sprit writings across the 19th and 20th century’s séances where tables rise above the floor and instruments play themselves. The attendees of these spiritualist gatherings are divided between whole-hearted believers and intrigued sceptics. It is a story with a most unique voice; a spirit with no psychical form so that the reader can’t even imagine the speaker’s appearance.
The voice of Katie King, a character who also takes the form of John King, is in a word, fascinating. It is neither dead nor fully alive. It is powerful and yet ultimately powerless in the mortal world. It feels human emotion, but is also envious of the human life it has been denied the experience of. It is an unexpected narrator which interprets the human world from an other-worldly perspective.
Several of the other characters are passing and fleet, although some leave a lasting mark upon the ever-present spirit. It develops a deep connection to a man named Robert Dale Owen and focuses much of its communicative powers on trying to reach him. Its infatuation with Robert evokes a sympathetic response. The reader pities the spirit’s intense longing for a human kind of love, rather than its brief encounters with spirit mediums.
Now I know that seeing does not mean belief, but believing means you can see 166
The power of human faith is a tested, and for good reason. The reader learns of the various tricks adopted by spirit mediums across the world. Fake public mediums charging the public for a completely set-up show. However, Katie is frequently called to private mediums who have a real gift in communicating with spirits.
Across the decades, her connection with the human world is strengthened by various female spirit mediums. Florence Eliza Cook is one such medium. Her gatherings invite attendees to witness the appearance of the Katie King spirit, a slight and pale ghost under a white veil with smooth, curled hair.
The harsh fact is, even though Katie is present at these occasions, Florence still has to impersonate the spirit for it has no way of appearing physically. The medium plays on her sexual appeal to please the male audiences and Katie is pleased at the prospect of being desirable in this manner. The narrator’s voice becomes a naïve, young girl, very much the same as Florence herself.
The closest Katie makes it to the mortal world is through an Italian medium named Eusapia. It was interesting to read about Katie’s ambitions to improve the reputation of these various mediums, thus improving its own reputation as a famous spirit. From infiltrating people’s dreams, to speaking directly to Eusapia herself, it searches for ways to impact the decisions of the humans it overlooks.
Being remembered is so much more than being known and recognised by everyone for a heartbeat or two 144
As a result of these different hopes and thoughts of the spirit, it becomes a memorable story. By the end of the novel, Katie expresses a desire to die and we are left wondering whether it continued to make connections to humans or just wandered the spirit world for all eternity.
This book is different and the air of mystery never falters. Let me know in the comments if you have read it and what you thought!
Lots of love,