“Bellman & Black”: Diane Setterfield’s new novel

bellman & blackReaders of ghost stories, gothic novels and general eerieness will be delighted to get their hands on Diane Setterfield’s new novel, Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story. In this, Setterfield’s first since the fabulous The Thirteenth Tale (2006), the tale opens with young Will Bellman slaying a rook with his catapult. As William grows into a charming young man, successful in the wool-milling business and in living a good life with his attractive family, he seems the epitome of the golden child. But then comes the trickle, then the flood, of funerals… and the strange man who appears at each of them, but only to William… and the near-wordless deal they make one bleak night in the cemetery…

The novel is well written, and explores thought, memory, joy and the darkness of the soul. It is convincing without being overdone, detailed while remaining subtle, and makes sure that it doesn’t leave the reader in a quagmire of gloom come the end of the book. Perfect for those who like the odd swirl of ectoplasm in their daily lives.

Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story – Diane Setterfield – PB – Orion Publishing – $30

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