The Keening by A. LaFaye

 

This was an interesting but kind of sad ghost story.  It is also one of my favorite kinds of ghost stories – the ones where the ghosts all gravitate towards one person (usually one person who can see them and communicate with them) whom they need to pass on a message to those they left behind.  I’ve always been interested in the afterlife, if one exists.
Liza Layton loses her mother to influenza, and it’s up to her to ensure that her father is taken care of.  He’s a very talented but eccentric carver and spends most of his time carving – so much that his in-laws want to have him committed to a work farm called Elysian Fields.  Lyza must overcome her fears to get him the help he needs.
When it comes to ghosts and the afterlife, there isn’t anything here terribly groundbreaking.  It’s pretty standard – person starts seeing ghosts, ghosts need person to pass on messages to the living so they can move on, person lives in fear of going crazy and being institutionalized.
That being said, I really liked it.  The author says that the story came to her in a dream, so the story was written with a dreamlike quality and I have to agree – the story does have a dreamlike quality to it.  I kept picturing Lyza’s house with an overcast sky and fog surrounding it.  That’s dreamlike to me, anyway.
I think this book was originally released in 2009, but was re-released in April 2011.  I was able to read this thanks to NetGalley.