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Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock

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4.76  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock is a multi-genre collection that examines grief, violence, heartbreak, and the universal challenge of living in a body that is always vulnerable. In this greyscale kaleidoscope of the familiar and the uncanny, muted voices shout, people commit to devastating choices, and mundane moments are filled with silent hauntings. A sle ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published October 7th 2019 by Civil Coping Mechanisms / The Accomplices

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Average rating 4.76  · 
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Jan Stinchcomb
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a longtime admirer of Hillary Leftwich, and this collection is everything I wanted it to be, filled with objectionable moms, sick loved ones, working class life, and sweet transgressions. Her narrators are the irrepressible misfits who manage to survive. Whether she is experimenting with form or telling it straight, Leftwich proves herself to be a master of microfiction.
Anne
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock' is a debut collection of flash fiction, prose-poetry, and memoir by Denver poet Hillary Leftwich. I've long looked forward to this one, and it's a visceral, honest, and sexy collection. It begins with twilight and a sky full of birds, and ends with a love letter, and in the intervening images, poetry, and scenes, Leftwich casts an artful spell.
'Ghosts... ' has recurring, particular themes—salvation, relationships, motherhood, hope, and vulnerab
...more
Chris LaTray
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
What a dark, gorgeous, compelling collection of work from Hillary Leftwich. When I first started reading I was expecting a book of poetry and was happily surprised to find flash essays, mostly. But even they are as much poetry as prose in the beauty of the language, the surreal nature of much of the imagery. Hillary is a tough and kind and fierce and lovely writer and we are lucky to be able to experience her work. I loved this book.
Emily Bertholf
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hybrid
"A dead boy's lips
won't tell lies,
but they'll hold regret
like a tender bite
from bitter fruit."
-Hillary Leftwich, from Dead Boys (p. 21)

Part poetry, part flash, all enchanting. Leftwich's collection is a literary ouija board of disembodied voices patched together with grit, passion, and imagination that will keep you wide-eyed as you turn the page wondering who or what you'll meet on the next page:

Are you a woman who's husband is away at war? (The pointer pulls to yes, turn to page 15: Praise th
...more
John Madera
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alternately melancholic and indignant, raucous and despondent, Hillary Leftwich's Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock reads like a lexical version of a long-thought-lost grunge rock opus, its evocative, sometimes concrete, sometimes dreamy, sometimes lurid imagery like a textual performance of a Harmony Korine film.
David
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These are wonderful stories. My favorites are the surreal ones, but there is always a tension, a significant immediacy, that makes them all work beautifully. The exact right word to hit home, the details that can’t be forgotten, there’s just so much right in these writings. Excellent work.
Sara Khayat
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Found myself holding my breath at points. Love the hybridity of genres.
Patricia Mccrystal
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In her debut hybrid collection, Leftwich seamlessly slips on the skins of countless storytellers to immerse us in tales that are both foreboding and funny, woeful and wondrous, surreal and sharply familiar. There is a unifying thread that stitches together the many voices pressed within these pages, and that is the deeply inescapable human condition of longing. This collection of flash fiction, memoir, and poetry lays bare how our voices echo through past, present, and future to call out our pri ...more
Nan
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love everything about this book -- from the cover art to the title, the framing pages ("Knock Knock", "Who's There?) to the contents. The voice here is always rich and strong, smokey like a forest after a summer rainstorm. The characters are familiar and strange. I know the landscapes they walk even though I've never seen them. I find myself sitting on the bus with the narrator and her son in "Hide-and-Seek", listening to Carl laughing in "Coping", and falling down a hellish mine in "Tajo". As ...more
Scottishtanningsecrets
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Through a variety of narrators, perspectives, and a dash of the supernatural, Hillary Leftwich explores working life, motherhood, grief, trauma and hope in this flash fiction collection.
Jui-Ting Hsu
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
The opening few stories read a bit uneven in my perspective, seemingly attached more by narrative novelty (the mundane observation tethered by a personal twist) than any recognizable stylistic impetus, but this does change rather quickly. The longer, more narrative-driven entries engage the reader best, as they unfold both mundane and surrealist qualities in a way that complement and in fact emerge from the other.

This might be a re-read in the future (Amazon delivered a damaged book as a new sal
...more
Emily Wortman-wunder
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection slipped into my brain like an intruder through a broken screen...these dreamlike multigenre flash pieces about the emotional and physical dangers of having a body haunt me.
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