Two Books

January 25, 2009 at 9:48 pm (Book Commentary) (, , )

What the Dead Know
what-the-dead-knowIt didn’t end the way I thought it would end. I thought I knew how this story would/should end. I read a lot of mysteries: few of them surprise me anymore. This one surprised me.

“The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing:”
Ecclesiastes 9:5

This book is about what one dead soul knows.

Two sisters, young teenagers, disappear in 1975 from a mall and someone claiming to be one of them reappears thirty years later. This book tells us both stories. This book tells us many stories: the girls, the cops, their parents. The then & the now.

It was, for me, both a nostalgic journey and a mystery. I was a young teenager in the seventies. The fads were familiar and haunting. Now, I look back to the past with a more mature eye. I know what the world is capable of.

It is not often that the ending of a story surprises me.

What the Dead Know
Laura Lippman
New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2007


Then the thought came to Miles, like the tolling of a large and leaden bell, that Bethany was dead. This may sound strange, but in my experience it’s strange and it’s also just how it works. You wake up and you remember that the person you love is dead. And then you think: Really?

Then you think how strange it is, how you have to remind yourself that the person you love is dead, and even while you’re thinking about that, the thought comes to you again that the person you love is dead. And it’s the same stupid fog, the same needles or mallet to the intestines or whatever worse thing you want to call it, all over again. But you’ll see for yourself someday. (p.5)

(The Wrong Grave/Kelly Link pp.1-30 in The Restless Dead ed. by Deborah Noyes. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2007)


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