As he nears the end of his life, Stanford Solomon gathers his family in the living room and prepares to reveal a big secret. It turns out that secrets are one of the few things holding his family together.
This masterfully woven tale begins with a deathbed confession that features flight, abandonment, a faked death, and a stolen identity. From there, it moves back and forth through time, from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem.
The result is an engrossing picture of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, as well as the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, regret, and, finally, transcendence.
Put simply, These Ghosts Are Family is a delicious read. It spans seven generations of a family, starting with their days as slaves on Jamaica sugar plantation and ending with their lives in New York City. Come for the bravura storytelling; stay for the haunting meditation on the meaning of race and family.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Queens, NY, Maisy Card earned a BA from Wesleyan and an MFA from Brooklyn College. Her nonfiction has appeared in Lenny Letter and is forthcoming in School Library Journal. Her short fiction has been published by AGNI, Sycamore Review, Liars’ League NYC, and Ampersand Review. The New York Times praised her debut novel, These Ghosts are Family, as “overflowing with unadulterated humanity.” She works as a librarian in New York City.
Order the book now from the Colgate Bookstore.
Listen to Jennifer Brice, associate professor of English, in conversation with the author as well as one or more colleagues.
Kezia Page is an associate professor of English and Africana and Latin American Studies at Colgate University. She studies and teaches Caribbean Literature and Culture and her work has focused on Caribbean migrant and diaspora literature and, more recently, on surveillance in Jamaican art, literature and culture. Page is currently the director of the Africana & Latin American Studies Program.
Enrich Your Reading Experience
- Martha Anne Toll untangles the twisted family relationships of These Ghosts Are Family in this Washington Post review.
- “Card’s book joins a literary tradition that challenges imperial records of history by imbuing the present with voices from the past,” says Hannah Giorgis in the Atlantic.
- Maisy Card reveals in this Rumpus interview that she wrote each part of These Ghosts are Family multiple times to see which perspective fit the best.
- Sometimes it’s easier to rewrite our history than face it, notes Maisy Card in this interview with the For Colored Girls Book Club.
- Jamaica’s Christmas Rebellion is frequently referenced in Maisy Card’s These Ghosts Are Family so we’ve provided some context. Note: Library users can access this online using JSTOR
- Who is Ol’Hige? Read about the soucouyant story in Jamaican folklore here. Note: Library users can access this online using JSTOR
You will wonder if there is someone out there who would wear your life better.Maisy Card
Living Writers is put on by the Department of English at Colgate University with generous support from the Olive B. O'Connor Fund as well as the President and Provost/Dean of the Faculty. This event is co-sponsored by the Program in Africana & Latin American Studies.