Andrea (mrsaubergine)'s Reviews > Ghosts of Our Pasts

Ghosts of Our Pasts by N.K. Smith
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Mar 03, 15

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-edits
Read in September, 2011

When Emily becomes strangely attracted to the quiet, bearded man she sees in the park, little does she know they are inexplicably linked by one of the greatest tragedies of our time, and that they are both still consumed by it. Sophia Duane’s harrowing debut novel, Ghosts of Our Pasts, doesn’t explicitly state what the horrific event was—instead merely giving the reader clues throughout the first half of the book—but it is not too difficult to guess which shocking act killed her firefighter father in New York ten years ago.

Harder to figure out is Will Darcy, but his story, when it unfolds, is achingly painful. While Emily has buried her grief, mostly with casual sex, Will has never gotten over what happened and relives it every night by replaying old voice messages and staring at photographs. His character is, for me, the most intriguing of the pair: He is so numb he has to rely on notes stuck on his bathroom mirror to complete even basic hygiene tasks, yet he spends his days making beautiful floral creations.

The grief in this novel is palpable, making it difficult to read at times. But there is hope, and the recovery of both main characters leads to a satisfying ending. Duane is a major talent to watch—you know a book is hitting its mark when you have chills while reading it. She has tackled an important, very real topic with respect and compassion, and even though it is a work of fiction, it gave me a new insight into the event. Ghosts of Our Pasts is likely to bring tears to your eyes, and you won’t be able to sing the falsetto part in Ms. Jackson again without feeling a little sad.
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