Title: The Storycatcher
Author: Ann Hite
Published: Gallery Books September 2013
Status: Read from September 06 to 08, 2013 — I own a copy
“She was what the old-timers called a storycatcher. Her job was to set life stories straight”
The Storycatcher is a haunting gothic tale set in the South during the depression era. Shelly, a young coloured girl finds herself at the center of someone else’s story, a story of secrets, betrayal, murder and revenge.
Though a little scattered to start, Hite weaves together the stories of her characters to reveal connections between the past and the present, between the living and the dead. Prominent themes in the story include the abuse of power, spiritual belief and the bonds of family. Secrets and lies hide a seething undercurrent of violence, lust and vengeance.
Filled with gothic folklore and superstition – haints (ghosts), hoodoo and death charms – the paranormal aspects of the novel work well. Shelly, her brother Will and their mother Amanda are all touched with variations of the ‘sight’, and deal with it in different ways. It is largely the ghosts’ stories, Arlene’s and Armetta’s, that Shelly needs to tell if she is to find peace.
Hite’s descriptions are lush and vivid, I can envision the broken marble angel resting in the deserted cemetery on Black Mountain and smell the salt winds of the Georgia marshes. The eerie atmosphere of the novel is enriched by the rhythms of speech and lyrical prose.
The Storycatcher is a gripping, layered gothic mystery, beautifully written and highly recommended.
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