A Ghostly Chorus Narrates 'The World Before Us'

March 31, 2015 11:03 AM

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A gaggle of querulous ghosts narrates the events in Aislinn Hunter's new novel The World Before Us. Hunter, a Canadian author of both fiction and poetry, brings a moody grace to these phantoms and to her telling of this rather quirky tale. The novel spans three time periods: The present, a generation earlier, and the late 19th century. The spirits present themselves as witnesses to each period, and they become characters as rich and personal as any blood-and-bones characters in the novel.

The living protagonist, Jane Standen, works as an archivist at London's eccentric Chester Museum, a Victorian relic about to be shuttered due to budget cuts. Jane has assigned herself the task of investigating the 1877 disappearance of one anonymous girl in the northern English countryside. Her moti...

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