Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alive In Necropolis

So, here's the reason why I like The Sixth Sense. It isn't the big twist ending (though I loved that) or the slow burn and chilly atmosphere (though they were exceptional). It was that the ghost story worked both literally and metaphorically, without the metaphor getting in the way of a good story. The Sixth Sense is about the distances that can exist even in the closest of relationships and the series of small losses that add up to slow death.

And that's what I loved about Doug Dorst's Alive In Necropolis. It's ghost story is about literal ghosts. The main character, Michael Mercer, sees dead people. But, more importantly, it's about the ways that we die every day that we don't decide to live. Mercer's unwillingness to make the difficult choices and hard sacrifices that give life meaning, make him a sort of ghost among ghosts, even if he is, technically, still breathing. And though Mercer may be carrying death around inside him, he and the rest of Dorst's cast of characters come alive on every page. The dialogue is loose in the way that real conversation is, the plot moves in the way that all good stories should. Alive In Necropolis is a ghost story that isn't dominated by ghosts, but that doesn't make it any less haunted. Doug Dorst can count me among his fans.

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