Recommended by my mother. Of course.
This is a book about a girl in 1920s New Orleans who dies prematurely, before anything about her life gets properly decided, particularly before she makes a decision about her boyfriend Andrew, a fact that proves troublesome to her after she dies. She is called Razi, and she haunts a Baton Rouge couple, Amy and Scott, who are dealing with the fallout from a loss of their own. The story flips back and forth between their story and Razi’s life as a – for lack of a better word – ghost, over the years, and Razi’s life when she was properly alive. She is a really excellent character. When she is alive she says to her Andrew, “One lifetime isn’t enough to make all the trouble of which I am capable.”
I really love the main character’s name – it’s Raziela, the meaning of which I’ve seen alternately given as God’s secret and My secret is God, both of which are wonderful. I like My secret is God particularly, to be honest. My secret is God. That is a good sentence. I will have to find a use for that sentence.
The Mercy of Thin Air was good. I like books about people successfully coming to terms with things that have been problematic to them. This was melancholy in bits and joyful in bits and with good characters and good dialogue and I just liked it a lot. Plus, you know, sister’s from the home state and her characters are always going to places that I have been, in Baton Rouge and in New Orleans. Hooray for Louisiana! We have good food! We have streetcars! If anywhere in this country was going to have ghosts, it would be us! Up with Louisiana!