A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell centers around the three Alter sisters: Lady, Vee, and Delph, middle aged, who live together in their rent controlled family’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The sisters are extremely loyal to each other and share a history of bad luck that hasn’t skipped a generation yet. Has it been any different for the sisters? … Well, no.
Lady, Vee, and Delph, due to circumstances in their lives, have decided it’s time to put an end to the Alter family curse. While the rest of the world is looking forward to the new millennium, the sisters are looking back. They are recording their family history, every bad bit, which will ultimately end in the final chapter – theirs – at the close of 1999, following in the steps of many of their kin before them.
The novel then takes us back in forth in time between the lives of the sisters and their ancestors. As they look back we learn that their great-grandfather was responsible for a truly atrocious event in history and this, in effect, has shaped the lives of the Alter’s going forward. Throughout their own lives the sisters have tried to live as anyone would but they can’t escape the shadows of the past, when in middle life, they find themselves facing regrets, depression, and illness. It leaves us questioning if one can ever really escape the sins of their fathers before them or are we doomed to the same fate?
While this may seem really depressing it isn’t. The sisters are very witty and they bring humor to an otherwise dire story. I laughed at times and felt their pain at others and ultimately I understood their decision to end their lives. I had picked up the audiobook of A Reunion of Ghosts and it’s narrated by Kirstin Potter and William Charlton. I felt that listening to this book really brought a lot to the story for me because there were a few times where the story lagged for me and the narrators drew me right back in.
Recommended for those who enjoy literary fiction. I enjoyed it.