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  • A wonderful debut novel

    High heels, a patch of ice, a train… Chelsea’s life ended abruptly and not in a pretty way. But she won’t let death stop her from attending her brother’s wedding. Which means she needs to get from New York (an interesting place to be a ghost in, fyi) to San Francisco. Being a spirit, she can’t take a plane nor a car, which go right through her, so she’ll have to walk (hover?) there. Two friends join her on her trip: Carmen, who died decades earlier and is sort of mentoring her into ghosthood, and Cyndricka, a homeless mute Black mime who, for some reason, can see and communicate with ghosts even though she’s not dead. The relationship between the three travelers is both incredibly unusual and plausible. On their way to California, they also meet the cutest cat, other ghosts and living people, some good, some bad, or even dangerous. I loved Jamie, who sounds like the sweetest ghost ever even without a face. That’s one of the things I loved best about this novel, how the undead keep the appearance they had when they died and are not all ethereally perfect beings. Despite the subject, there’s nothing heavy about the story, it’s more subtle and penetrating. I don’t think I can explain why I loved this book (yet another excellent debut) so much without giving too much away. It’s not about twists and surprises, it’s all about the way the feelings are built up, how they grow. Like most road trips (at least in books and movies), this one is both a journey cross-country and to themselves. I took forever to get to this novel (dead people, anxiety, sadness…) and that was stupid of me since it’s made it straight to my favourite-books-of-the-year list. It’s one of the most poetic and charming novels I’ve read. It’s tender and bittersweet, it made me cry and smile at the same time. The author mentions “the blessing of small miracles” at one point, and that’s exactly what this novel is. I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

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  • Delightfully Quirky

    Alanna McFall's début novel, “The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus”, is a story about a delightfully quirky and unique road-trip to San Francisco. It was a wonderfully moving tale about the importance of empathy, friendship and about hard it can be to let go and move on. The Triple-C trio takes the reader on an expedition filled with escapades and misadventures. I was lured into this fabulous story by Alanna McFall's entertaining dialogue and her well drawn and compelling if less than perfect, characters. I loved that all of the characters in this book had their own distinctive voices, as it is more usual for the players, both the primary and supporting characters, to speak alike, with similar turns of phrase, vocabulary, inflections and jargon. There were some really bone-chilling moments and, for all its ghostly quirkiness, it did not waver from the difficult topics like the realities of life, or even the afterlife. This story remained both joyous and uplifting, even as it highlighted dark and loaded subjects like death, violence, grief and poverty. What also worked so wonderfully for me in all its ghoulish glory, was the gratifyingly subtle and gentle humour threaded through each part of the story. Funny, profoundly moving and highly recommended! I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Atthis Arts via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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