Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead by Paul Elwork

Description from
The innocence of childhood,
the unknown of adulthood,
and the search for forgiveness . . .

Emily Stewart is the girl who claims to stand between the living and the dead. During the quiet summer of 1925, she and her brother, Michael, are thirteen-year-old twins-privileged, precocious, wandering aimlessly around their family's estate. One day, Emily discovers that she can secretly crack her ankle in such a way that a sound appears to burst through the stillness of midair. Emily and Michael gather the neighborhood children to fool them with these "spirit knockings."
Soon, however, this game of contacting the dead creeps into a world of adults still reeling from World War I. When the twins find themselves dabbling in the uncertain territory of human grief and family secrets- knock, knock-everything spins wildly out of control.

I found myself pacing this read. I would put it down faster than any other reads, but also found myself picking it up again faster, wanting to know what happens. The book is split into sections and we learn about several different families and the way the war/death/sickness and daily lives have impacted them. The majority of the book we are following twins, Michael and Emily who have decided to spend their long summer days tricking their friends into believing that Emily can talk to the dead. By usuing her angles she can pop them to send off a loud/soft/short or long sound into the air as so noboy can figure out where the sound had come from. She originally played this trick on her brother, who then decided to trick their friends. The tea house they say gets a better ghost reception is where they invite their friends. But this room only provides for a more acoustical sound to arise making it harder to tell where the knocks come from. After a success tricking their friends,
They venture into meeting up with older neighbors whom are wanting to talk to their deceased loved ones and as their (the twins) rules state Emily is "Sprit Knocking" so they can only ask yes or no questions and would hear a knock in return. Many people came away from those meetings with different ideas of what's happening but overall everybody believs because they cannot figure out how she is doing it.
The other sections in this book are family history. The families that shared the land, or the family of the spirits they were trying to contact and what was going on in the war during this time. And how the war effects the families at home.
While I found the writing amazing, and it really kept me coming back, the story made me feel at a loss. Some questions never answered. Some of the families stories never quite completed. It was very compelling but left you in a state of sadness maybe or melancholy.
Emily and Michael are always up front with the reader through the well written pages that these are schemes, they are plotted and studied and they put on a show for their neighbors. Although the neighbors for the majority have some kind of reasoning to not believe them. The comfort they feel in the thought that their loved ones just might really be close even beyond death it still a comfort to them.
A book about sad people, wrong decisions, inability to push through grief, but content with maintaining it to certain levels. And a story about two twins that one summer maybe had just a little too much time on their hands. Trying to escape their own bordom, greif and melancholy