Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2022
Coming of age stories are often uneven in quality and pace but when done well like this one, they can give the reader an entirely different perspective on life. We often read books and see movies to escape reality but Thompson’s novel gives us both a harsh reality and a glimpse of real hope.
Property disputes involving family land might not sound like good drama but when the future of a family’s survival and prosperity is at stake–it makes for very compelling reading.
In The Ghost of Atlanta, Andy Michael Pilgrim faces demons from his youth that haunted his life.
The best part of this novel is Thompson’s powerful use of description that takes the reader to dangerous places where drug deals and shootings are part of everyday life. It makes one wonder what life would be like from a completely different and potentially traumatizing new perspective.
Segregation, drug addiction, and gun violence are the real ghosts of this story.
As someone from the south, I appreciated the folklore and appearances of ghosts and local legends that bring character to local towns and big cities.
The inclusion of the newspaper plot revolving around the Atlanta Defender brought back fond memories of being a newspaper reporter when I was young although I rarely got to write about matters of life and death with our local news team. This leads up to a chilling and profound conclusion. This is not on a spaceship, this is not set in the zombie apocalypse, this tale is set in stone-cold reality–one that we find ourselves immersed in on every page until the end.
The character of Andy is left deeply haunted and so is the reader.