Mitchell explores the mixed-blessing bonds of family with wry wit. This original tale is black comedy at its best.
— People Magazine, Book of the Week
Mitchell’s dark comedy captures the agony and ecstasy (of her characters’ lives) with deep empathy and profound wit. For the Alters, life has been a seemingly endless series of tragedies; for us, the tragedy is that this stunning novel inevitably comes to an end.
— Kirkus, Best Books of 2015
2015 National Jewish Book Award in Fiction (Finalist)
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How do three sisters write a single suicide note?
In the waning days of 1999, the Alter sisters–Lady, Vee, and Delph–finalize their plans to end their lives. Their reasons are not theirs alone; they are the last in a long line of Alters who have killed themselves, beginning with their great-grandmother, the wife of a German-Jewish Nobel Prize-winning chemist who developed the first poison gas used in World War I. The chemist himself, their son Richard, and Richard’s children all followed suit.
The childless sisters also define themselves by their own bad luck. Lady, the oldest, never really resumed living after her divorce. Vee, a widow, is facing cancer’s return. And Delph, the youngest, is resigned to a lonely life of stifled dreams. But despite their pain they love each other fiercely, and share a darkly brilliant sense of humor.
As the sisters gather in the ancestral Upper West Side apartment to close the circle of the Alter curse, an epic story of four generations of one family–inspired in part by the troubled life of Fritz Haber, Nobel Prize winner and inventor of chlorine gas–unfolds. A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent tale of fate and blood, sin and absolution; partly a memoir of sisters unified by a singular burden, partly an unflinching eulogy of those who have gone before; and above all, a profound commentary on the events of the 20th century