The Mercy of Thin Air
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The Mercy of Thin Air

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  3,562 ratings  ·  567 reviews
In 1920s New Orleans, Raziela Nolan's magnificent love affair is interrupted by her untimely and tragic death. Immediately after, she chooses to stay between - a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it. From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the story of her lost love as well as of the relationship of Amy and Scott, a young couple whose h...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Grace
Razi, the narrator and protagonist of The Mercy of Thin Air, is dead. The story moves back and forth between memories of her life before she drowns in the late 1920s and her observations on the present, over seventy five years later, where she lives "between" life and death. In common parlance, Razi is a ghost--she has no physical form, but she can see, hear, and smell everything around her in the living world, as well as moving objects and herself telekinetically.

At the beginning of the novel,...more
Tomi
Sep 26, 2007 Tomi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I haven't even finished this book yet and it's already one of my all-time favorites (and that's quite a bold statement for me if you know how much I read). The language in this book is some of the most beautiful I have ever read, next to Gabriel Garcia Marquez - it is lyrical and somehow sparkles on the page. It's simply gorgeous. Now, I have an Advanced Readers Copy, which I picked up at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville two years ago, so I'm not entirely sure it is exactly the same a...more
Caroline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chance Maree

This was an unexpected gem. I enjoyed the writing and structure of the narrative, but readers who are confused by nonlinear timelines may find this novel a challenge. The characters were well drawn--both male and female. I loved the sensual descriptions--just below my tolerance for overwriting, yet better as a first person narrative than any novel I've read this year.

I'm not a romance reader (romance novels generally lead to yawns or laughter), and while I wouldn't call this a romance novel, it...more
Lisa
I didn't expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. I love the portrayal of college girls in the 1920s, the very Southern flavor to the speech and behavior of the characters and the twists and turns in the story. If I find myself slowing down and hoping to catch a few red lights to I can hear a little more, you know that's a recommendation.
Katalin
Just finished.... I am crying... It was so beautiful... So heartbreaking .... So deep....

It has been a while I have liked a book as much as I have liked this one... While trying to decide if I want to read Fifty Shades Of Gray (I will most likely not) and trying to make up my mind if I even like love stories at all after reading this book I have realized my problems are not with love stories, but with cheap and trashy love stories. There are so many of them that sometimes I feel like they even w...more
Jacki
For me, this book was just ok. When I read the back, I was really intrigued. A book written from a ghost's point of view, yadda yadda. Sounds good to me.

Eh. The writing was only so-so, kind of shallow and the dialogue was pretty bad. People don't really talk like that. I also didn't like the author's idea of ghosts. To me, the 'rules' and the little 'quirky' things about the spirit world just sort of annoyed me.

What I did like was the story of Scott & Amy, the modern couple sided up with th...more
Karyl
I adored this book. It shouldn't take me five days to read a book that's just about 300 pages long, but that's exactly what happened. I found myself finding other things to do instead of reading because I wanted to prolong the joy of reading it. I slowed down and savored each word, each sentence. I just didn't want it to end.

But all good things must come to an end, and last night I finished it. And I mourned, just a little bit.

Razi is a feisty, unconventional girl of the 1920s. Her goal in life...more
Frmaselli
Most of this book I didn't like. I found it convulted, hard to follow and over-written. However, towards the end when all the pieces start coming together, I liked it better. This is the story of a woman who tragically dies and then is caught in the "in between" world. She can't stop obsessing what happened to her love and ends up "haunting" a young couple who eventually bring her the answers she needs.
The concept is great and the perspective is unique yet I found that I never bonded with the...more
Katie
Although I really enjoyed this book and absolutely fell in love the characters from the 20’s, especially Razi, and I did enjoy the story overall, I was a little annoyed with the book at times. Yes, I agree with all points made regarding reproductive health and education but I guess that I am just not a person who lives and breaths my beliefs and political stance. It was an interesting portion of the story and in most parts I found it to be important to character development and understanding the...more
Bethany Andrews
This was one of the best books I've read in a while..its a beautiful story; its different and interesting, and its incredibly well written. This is Domingue's debut novel, and its obvious she has a huge career ahead of her as a novelist.

On the back jacket of the book, it is compared to Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones," Aside from the fact that the main character is indeed dead, I didn't find any other similarites. I guess one could compare the two in a very general sense, but I was bored sensel...more
Dana
Raziela Nolan dies at a very young age and is caught between. She can not 'follow' her loved ones, instead she watches Amy and Scott. Amy has bought a bookcase that once belonged to Raz's boyfriend. The story interweaves the stories of Amy and Scott with Raz's own story.

Raz is in her senior year at Tulane in the 1920's when she dies. She has been brought up in a very forthright manner. Her mother was a suffragette. She is involved in supplying birth control to women(an illegal activity). Raz hop...more
Lisa
I borrowed this book from my friend Sandra, and am glad I did. The main character, Raziela Nolan, has a passionate love affair with Andrew O'Connell in the late 1920s. Beautiful, intelligent, and determined to go to medical school during a time when women were expected to just be wives and mothers, Raziela has her entire life ahead of her. On the cusp of telling Andrew she intends to marry him, Razi dies in an accident. She spends the next 70 years "in between," roaming the earth as a ghostly pr...more
Janene
May 30, 2009 Janene rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janene by: Barb
I finally finished this. Was very anxious to start this book...but once I got going, had a really hard time getting into it. This book jumped around too much for me. I had to hesitate at the beginning of each chapter and think, "OK, are we in the past or present?" It lost me so much that I had to go back & re-read the ending, just to try & figure out what happened.
Stephanie Loy Son
Wow, I absolutely loved this book to pieces. It had all the qualities to a great novel; romance, mystery, self-discovery and acceptance. It tells the story of Razi, who is left in the "between" worlds, and her love affair with Andrew. While unraveling the mysteries of their relationship, Razi follows Amy and Scott through their turbulent relationship.

What I loved about this novel was the slow unraveling of a mystery. Nothing in this novel is revealed in it's entirety or in chronological order. C...more
Sterlingcindysu
I had a very hard time keeping track of the characters, locations and time. This is Domingue's first novel, so I think an editor should have done more to alert the readers to time changes. The problem wasn't just past and present, I thought at the beginning the main characters were in high school because they were applying for college--then later it said they *were* in college and applying for law/medical school. All the characters have very odd names, and I couldn't keep track of who was a frie...more
Daisy
New Orleans in the 1920s--that's all it took for me to decide to read this. I never read past the first line of a book description because I don't want to know too much.
This is a parallel/mirror story of Raziela (what kind of name is that and how do you pronounce it anyway? Rah-zee-la or Rah-zee-ella?) and Amy. One in 1929 dies and grieves for the love she left behind and the other in the present day is alive and grieves for the love who left her behind. It's a wispy, romantic, sentimental stor...more
Amy
Part mystery, part love story, part ghost story, part history lesson: The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue offers something for every reader. Narrated by the spirit of Razi, who has been in the “in between” more than 70 years, the reader is drawn into both the story of Razi herself and the young couple with which she is currently sharing a house. At its core this novel examines the choices women have been faced with for decades, as well as the unknowable question of what happens to us after...more
Jennifer
I loved this book. I listened to it as an audio book and just loved it. It was sometimes hard to follow the abrupt time changes but I got used to it.
Tierney
This was one of the best novels I've read in a while - it got me out of a major reading slump :) The book is told from the perspective of a young woman named Raziela Nolan who died tragically in the 1920s in New Orleans; she has been living as a kind of ghost for the last 80+ years on earth. Razi was a forward-thinking feminist in her day, illegally distributing birth control information and planning her career as a doctor - but she also fell deeply in love with a man named Andrew, and her ghost...more
Ciara
Dec 27, 2008 Ciara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: family planning advocates, big fans of the ghost narrator genre, fans of sassy 1920s broads
this novel is set in the 1920s. the protaganist is a young women who is pretty feisty for the historical time period in which she resides. she is very invested in women having access to birth control & birth control information, which was illegal at the time. even married women had a hard time getting their hands on birth control information. the narrator is from a wealthy family is new orleans & has a boyfriend who is also from a wealthy family. they have been knockin' boots & havin...more
April
One of the best, most unique books I've read in a long time. I have never read anything like it. Part Ghost Whisperer, part Dr. Ruth *yes, Dr. Ruth*, and part romance novel.

A spirited, liberal, strong woman in a time when women were looked down upon for being so, Razi dies suddenly in a tragic accident. Her life, her love affair...all unsettled. Her body gone, in the physical sense, she finds herself stuck "between". From here, she narrates the novel. While guiding newly dead betweeners through...more
Anne Broyles
Two stories are intertwined in this story, told from the point of view of a woman who died in 1929 and has remained "in between" because she is not ready to go on to the other (unspecified) life after death. Razi is a fascinating protagonist and her life illustrates the flapper age when bobbing one's hair gave freedom, but birth control and female doctors were still controversial.

Razi's story plays out against a semi-parallel story of a contemporary young couple who fascinate Razi, so the reader...more
Becky
The day before I started this book, I was looking through some old photos that my mom had found in her basement...an album that belonged to my great-aunt, who was a young woman in the 1920s. The album was full of pictures from the 1920s-1930s, pictures of family, vacations, houses, and of my great-aunt and her friends. As I read about Razi and her life in the 1920s, I kept imagining these photographs and wondering what life was like for my great-aunt in those days. I would love to think she was...more
Kath
The book is okay. It is creative! descriptive! Sometimes touching. But there are many grammatical and syntax errors. Flipping pages back and forth because of contraditory information means you are paying attention, but does not excuse the writer from sloppiness. I have to agree with another poster, at times my attention wandered away from the book so for these last chapters am using the book to fall asleep. The author has potential, but more research should be done, some parts of the book do not...more
Heather
I just couldn't put this book down.

Raziela's character is larger than life. Large enough to convince a reader that someone has the strength to say "between". Andrew is still water running deep. Together these two make transendence and love across the barriers of the known possible.

Ronlyn Domingue is a master painter. The descriptions of sensation for those experiencing the "between" place are rich and full. The vibrancy of what Razi experiences is echoed through Lionel, also...further backing up...more
Sally
There were several subject matters in this book that I flat out don't agree with, but putting that aside and reading it just as a good story, I was hooked. The characters (both main and small) were so fascinating and as real as people around me everyday. I was immediately drawn into Razi's story, even though we know her outcome from the beginning - I still found myself pulling for her.
Elyse83
Jan 02, 2010 Elyse83 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school up
Recommended to Elyse83 by: readalikes list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Glen R.
This was an interesting love story played out in three space-time milieus. The narrator is Razi, who tells the story in first person. Razi died in 1929 and has been hanging around in between life on earth and what comes next. Some unfinished business keeps her here. She meets many others like her; some who move on right away, and others who stay longer. They become friends with Razi. One woman has been stuck in her house since she died there at the time of the Civil War. Razi, on the other hand,...more
Kerry
This was absolutely one of my favorite books of all time. I loved how the lives of the generational characters intermingled and how the furniture and momentos all had stories behind them that you learn about. I didn't want the book to end but there was complete satisfaction when it did. All storylines wrapped up well and completely.
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Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Chronicle of Secret Riven and The Mapmaker's War, the first two books of the Keeper of Tales Trilogy. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), Border Crossing,...more
More about Ronlyn Domingue...
The Mapmaker's War (Keeper of Tales Trilogy, #1) The Chronicle of Secret Riven (Keeper of Tales Trilogy, #2) The Chronicle of Secret Riven: Keeper of Tales Trilogy: Book Two The Beautiful Anthology Atria Book Club Bites: A Free Sampling of Ten Books Guaranteed to Feed Your Discussion

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“why, it beats so i can love you.” 25 likes
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