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An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017)

by Rivers Solomon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7244923,216 (3.93)46
Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cook fire. Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sewing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.… (more)
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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
I really flew through this book, even though I wouldn't necessarily call it an easy read. There is a lot of pain, sexual assault and racism/classism, state-sanctioned murder and constant discrimination. There are some inconsistencies in the book and sometimes things are mentioned that don't go anywhere, but I liked reading it and I really liked Aster as a character. ( )
  katebrarian | Mar 30, 2021 |
This book is a brutal but moving read. I love the main characters, and love the writing style, and it deals with important issues and raises interesting questions. However, the pacing is a bit off, it starts off slow and the ending feels rushed. Overall, I would recommend to everyone, but look for trigger warnings, because it has some intense and dark content. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Mar 2, 2021 |
i get what the author was trying to do, but it was a really miserable read. lots of plotholes, continuity errors (a whole scene where aster asks theo his real name and finds out he's a former sovereign's son... then flashing back to the weeks after aster meets him where she finds out the same info from a newspaper?), techno mumbo jumbo, and a million setups and stressful situations that don't pay off. ( )
  prunetracy | Jan 24, 2021 |
This was just incredible; Solomon manages to grapple with trauma in ways that are deeply familiar and also alien, and manages to show what survival under these horrific conditions might look like. But there's so much going on here on a sociopolitical and interpersonal level, and Solomon does an amazing job of zooming in and out on those conflicts as they are intertwined and also somewhat separate. Aster moving through the world especially is great insight into those systems of power don't work, where they fall apart, and how that happens.

It's brutal (lots of references to rape and descriptions of brutal physical assault,) but there's also so much about what it can mean to move from a dystopia to something more, something better--and how tha work happens, how an uprising happens and when violence happens. But it was so good and I was so invested in the story and its ending. ( )
  aijmiller | Jan 21, 2021 |
This was beautiful and powerful.
Definitely a chattel slavery in space story but at the same time SO much more.
Well written, engaging, powerful characters, diverse characters (ethnically, gender based, neurodivergent as well as sexually fluid) without fetishization.
There's multiple tense situations in relation to sexual and racial violence that are historically accurrate and brutal.
The Space Ship holds the last survivors of humanity on a colony style ship floating through space in search of a planet for humanity. The ship is divided by alphabetically designated floors, the closer to the end of the alphabet you are the lower your status. Society is ruled over by a Sovereign, chattel slavery has returned and black people are not considered completely human. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
I want to say about this book, its only imperfection is that it ended. But that might give the wrong impression: that it is a happy book, a book that makes a body feel good. It is not a happy book. I love it like I love food, I love it for what it did to me, I love it for having made me feel stronger and more sure in a nightmare world, but it is not a happy book. It is an antidote to poison. It is inoculation against pervasive, enduring disease. Like a vaccine, it is briefly painful, leaves a lingering soreness, but armors you from the inside out.
added by souloftherose | editNPR, Amal El-Mohtar (Oct 6, 2017)
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Solomon, Riversprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boothe, CheriseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
TG DesignCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my mother
and her mother
all the way back to Eve.
First words
Aster removed two scalpels from her med-kit to soak in a solution of disinfectant.
Quotations
What was a person's self but carefully articulated mimicry?
That was all one could do with the past—be satisfied with half-answers, take the rest on faith.
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Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cook fire. Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sewing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.

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