A transporting debut novel that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the house boy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
Maisy Card holds an MFA in Fiction from Brooklyn College and is a public librarian. Her writing has appeared in Lenny Letter, School Library Journal, Agni, Sycamore Review, Liars’ League NYC, and Ampersand Review. Maisy was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, but was raised in Queens, New York. Maisy earned an MLIS from Rutgers University and a BA in English and American Studies from Wesleyan University. She is the author of These Ghosts Are Family.
“I suspect many readers will talk about the consequences of unspoken generational trauma in These Ghosts Are Family, but I'm most amazed by the deft use of characterization, place and embodiment here. This book is a master class in writing home as a collection of odd spirits and a mobile metaphor.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division
“In this fascinating debut, Maisy Card reveals her spectacular range and scope. Part immigrant narrative, part ghost story, part historical fiction, part family drama, These Ghosts Are Family explores and illuminates the complexities of race and lineage in Jamaica and the United States. This is a bold, gripping, compassionate book."
—Helen Phillips, author of The Need
“Maisy Card's relentlessly inventive debut is a thrilling exploration of family, memory and which pasts we choose to haunt us.”
—Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman
“How do actions reverberate across multiple generations? In Maisy Card's stunning novel, people live and die and lose and love and make their way through this chaotic but profound experience we call life. Her luminous prose lights a way even in the darkest moments. These Ghosts Are Family will haunt you long after you finish it.”
—Michele Filgate, author of What My Mother and I Don't Talk About