Reviews

There Is No Lovely End

So now that you know how the book *ends*, let’s talk about what leads up to that. But first, a preview of coming attractions:

There Is No Lovely EndThere Is No Lovely End by Patty Templeton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Patty Templeton slowly unravels three story yarns from their separate skeins: one strand is sturdy and of good ply, another is seemingly fragile and delicate enough for lacemaking, but surprisingly, strong enough for a noose, and the final one is blood-soaked and still dripping. Over the course of the book, the strands are knit together into a well-fitting cloak of conclusion.

Now that I’ve gotten that analogy out of my system, let’s move on.

This is a ghost story, make no mistake about it. But these ghosts don’t behave as you’d expect them to. One ghost stalks an unwilling lover, another bothers their brother, and a tiny ghost torments it’s momma and charms it’s poppa. Misbehaving ghosts are a common occurrence in Patty Templeton’s skewed world.

We are clearly in the 1800s, in familiar American locales, but that’s about as far as that goes. The rules of life and death work differently here. While we only see how this affects certain people, I couldn’t help but wonder about the bigger view. With this many ghosts crowding into a few American locations, should I expect that millions of ghosts are bound to people and places all over the world? How does this change humanity’s viewpoint on religion, death, love, murder, mercy, revenge… and ultimately a release from this by all accounts wretched existence?

This engrossing yet consternating adventure features the wonderfully bawdy, witty, meanspirited and weirdly beautiful manner of speaking that comes so naturally to the folks involved in this series of misadventures. Really, it’s a vernacularist’s dream come true.

This is the author’s debut and so far, only novel, but she more than makes up for that with its grandeur. Sixty-five chapters, two Epilogues, the Acknowledgements and an Afterward create a formidable book. But, the chapters are short nibbles, and interestingly, most paragraphs contain just one sentence. I find these contents and formatting add to the feeling of reading a book that was not published in my version of America.

If you find yourself nodding your head and making interested ‘huh!’ and ‘oh really?’ noises, you might qualify as one of this books contented readers. Jump in and find out!

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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