No Spring Cleaning Required


Caroline Goldstein at includes A Reunion of Ghosts as one of the “13 of March 2015’s Best Books To Spring Clean Your Bookshelves and Make Room For.” I’m super grateful, but I will add that if you’re like me and can never throw books away, I’d suggest doing what I do, namely, just dropping your copy of Reunion (available at bookstores March 24) on the floor near your bedside…along with all the other books whispering, “Read me. Read me.”

Our relative degrees of tidiness aside, I have to say that Ms. Goldstein’s write-up of A Reunion of Ghosts is one of the most cogent I’ve seen. I mean, I’m happy she likes it, of course, but I’m also taken with how deftly she’s summed up the crazy, all-over-the-place plot. Thank you, Caroline, and may all the books on your bookshelves be neat and alphabetically arranged:

Three sisters — Lady, Vee, and Delph Alter — gather in their family apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the last bastion of old New York Jews, in the waning days of the 20th century. This “triumvirate of feminists,” this “partnerless, childless, even petless sorority” congregates here to carry out the Alter family curse that is their birthright: they’re all going to commit suicide, here, together. Suicide is in their blood, less a curse than a genetic inevitability. But first, the three sisters, forming a darkly humorous Greek chorus, write their suicide note — the triumphant, tragic, and memorable story that is A Reunion of Ghosts. From their German-born great-grandfather Lenz (death by morphine) to their mother Dahlie (death by drowning), the sisters’ story spans generations, the Atlantic, and all manner of misfortune. But what could be a story of pure devastation is, in Mitchell’s empathetic hands, a wry and tender examination of family ties.