Book Review: It is an honest ghost by John Goldbach

Book Review: It is an honest ghost by John Goldbach

mag_dec2016_coverThis book review first appeared in the December 2016 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

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Title: It Is an Honest Ghost
Author: John Goldbach
ISBN: 9781552453339
Price: $18.95
Publisher: Coach House Books

Review by Nathalie Peron

In his second short story collection, It Is an Honest Ghost, which includes six short stories and a novella, Montréal writer John Goldbach attempts to provide insight into the possibility of life after death through the perspectives of different characters. Unfortunately, he doesn’t manage it. Although the characters are relatable and the stories are generally easy to read, this reader failed to see the point in the end.

Although Goldbach’s interesting depiction of Sigismund Mohr’s now mostly ignored contribution to the electrification of Québec City and his death in obscurity piques the reader’s curiosity, it seemed to steer away from the topic of life after death.

One story does touch on the idea of death. Sadly, the reader spends a lot of energy trying to understand its premise: is the speaker dead, dying, or reflecting on his imminent execution while sitting in his prison cell in St. Petersburg, contemplating Kazan Cathedral in some weird out-of-body experience? Once readers get past the blatant lack of context, they are still confronted with a story told in a single 551-word sentence.

Overall, not an inspirational read, but maybe an entertaining one.

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About Author

Nathalie Peron

Naturalized Quebec City citizen, Nathalie has studied in literature and as a paralegal, the latter stemming a career she has strived in for the past 10 years, notably in workers’ compensation cases. Artistically inclined, she has acted in amateur theatre for 25 years and has lately added singing to her amateur CV. She now stretches her professional wings to writing, both corporate and creative texts, hoping to meld both her artistic and legal personalities.

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