A Ghost Story
by Diane Setterfield
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
This is a unique story of love, loss, drive, madness, human folly and blackbirds.
An epic saga of one man's life, from thoughtless child to determined businessman with all the triumphs and sufferings along the way.
Rooted throughout the story is a dark feathery current of mystery, an invisible relationship with the rooks that populate this Victorian town. You will never look at birds the same way.
From the Back Flap:
Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed--he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business--one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave--and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William--a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black" . . .
DIANE SETTERFIELD is a former academic specializing in twentieth-century French literature. She lives in Oxford, England. Her first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, debuted at #1 on The New York Times besteller list. The author lives in Oxford, England.