This debut novel tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem, which includes many family secrets. Perhaps the biggest secret has to do with Abel Paisley, who faked his own death, stole the identity of his best friend, and has been living as Stanford Solomon—a decision with wide-reaching consequences.
These Ghosts are Family is a spellbinding, beautifully written story about the way generational trauma can harm, form or save a person ... a stunningly powerful experience, laced through with prose that’s gorgeous and effortless, and reminded me of Toni Morrison. A story of pain and of love, of ancestral pride and parental disgust, of joy and trauma, the magic of an ancient tale and the bone-deep reality of having to change a bedpan ... It’s easy to sink happily into this book; it’s easy to let it make you sad for the people in it, to break your heart, to make you want to live harder or let a fairytale absorb you ... Please let it enter your life and take you to somewhere incredible.
... [a] rich, ambitious debut novel ... Each character gives Card a fresh opportunity to play with form: Chapters shapeshift here into historical fiction, there into folklore ... Card deftly grounds these experiments in subtle details that reveal history’s imprint on everyday family life ... Occasionally, the novel’s sheer breadth takes a toll on the prose, flattening complex emotions in particular into cliché ... Card’s ghosts bracingly remind us that no family history is comprehensive, that some riddles of ancestry and heritage persist beyond this lifetime.
The seemingly unforgivable is hardly so simple in Maisy Card's lyrical, ambitious debut, which rigorously explores the story behind and impact of one man's grand deceit ... Card is a restless writer. Her first chapter delivers a stunning series of second-person character portraits; they build into a centuries-spanning epic about race, trauma, and the weight of a lie.