In Riddance, children with speech impediments attend a school in Massachusetts to learn how to channel the dead. Written in the form of transcripts, found documents, and archival material, the novel is a disquieting supernatural investigation into life after death.
Cleverly mimicking the often discordant communications of the dead .. Jackson spins not only an incredible yarn but a delightfully strange, wondrously original, and dazzlingly immersive gothic love letter to storytelling itself.
Every once in a while a book comes along that merits special attention...is one of those books. It’s masterfully written, wildly entertaining, incredibly clever, and a creepily thrilling good read ... will leave you haunted and questioning the very nature of human existence ... a weighty and wildly creative tome of a novel that will leave you questioning the very nature of writing and reading, of life and death itself.
Riddance is Jackson’s first novel in twelve years, and it’s as noisy, category-defying, and fantastically weird a book as a longtime Jackson fan might hope for ... It is a big, exuberant, gleeful book, whimsical and inventive and stuffed full of wild leaps from the land of the dead to the land of the living—which, in Jackson’s world, are not so very separate at all ... Jackson always brings us back to its most compelling elements: the intersections and divergences of Jane and Sybil’s devastating loneliness and indomitable wills. As the book progresses—and the school falls apart—their stories surface more and more insistently, carrying the reader through to a bittersweet end. While Riddance begins as a sometimes grotesque and always clever meditation on living, dying, and writing fiction, its heart is something sadder and less cerebral—an investigation into the way that damage and trauma reroute human lives.