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Going Through Ghosts (West Word Fiction)by Mary Sojourner
"The payoff for Ghosts comes at the end, after the reels have spun, the lights have lowered and almost everybody has gone home. When it does, it's quiet, too, two people sliding in together, in such a way that it isn't a gamble anymore, but a sure thing." Katie Schneider, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
Maggie Foltz is a fifty-five-year-old cocktail waitress in a rundown casino in the southern Nevada Mojave Desert. She spends her days serving drinks to lonely old folks playing the slot machines and her nights trying to escape her bitter past. When she befriends Sarah, a young Native American woman who is hired to cook in the casino coffee shop, her life begins to change.
Maggie finds herself falling in love with a memory-haunted Vietnam veteran and warily begins to hope that together they can find peace. Then Sarah is mysteriously murdered, and Sarah's ghost enlists Maggie to accompany her on a quest for the wisdom that she needs in order to move into the next world. The story ranges from smoky casinos into the harsh magnificence of the desert and the reservation where Sarah's people are trying to preserve their culture and find their own place in a modern world that seems to want them to be either shamans or losers.
Sojourner's characters are compellingly real, and the Mojave setting has rarely been depicted as sensitively or truthfully. This is a memorable story of love, redemption, and solace, told by one of the West's finest writers.
"Sojourner's suspenseful and finely observed second novel (after several story collections and works of nonfiction) reaches deeply into Native American lore as it pursues an unlikely friendship between two hard-luck women — one living, one dead. Maggie Foltz (aka Maggie May 'for tips') is a cocktail waitress with a heart of gold at the Crystal Casino in Creosote, Nev. At 54, Maggie is weary of falling for charismatic men and helps Sarah, a young transient, get a job at the casino. Sarah, who grew up in the small Willow tribe of Bone Lake, has fled man trouble of her own, and the two women become pals — all too briefly before Sarah is murdered. However, their friendship only intensifies from here on, as Sarah returns — with the help of the Willow healer Minnie Siyala — and guides Maggie back to Bone Lake to resolve spiritual issues. In punchy, alternating points of view, Sojourner introduces potential murderers and plenty of quirky customers as Maggie helps Sarah's spirit transition to what comes next. Sojourner's sympathy for her characters is palpable and gracious, making this a notable and worthy effort." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"I have a soft spot for this book, and I like these characters. I think this is a book that serves Nevada really well, both in terms of landscape and in terms of the loving but unsanitized description of those who tend to wind up in a place like Creosote." Pam Houston, author of Sight Hound
"Sojourner skillfully weaves the wounded pasts and hopeful futures of these characters into a thoughtful portrayal of the unshakable human instinct to survive, despite unspeakable suffering and haunting memories." Booklist
"...a deftly written page-turner of a novel with author Mary Sojourner bringing even her peripheral and supporting characters to life in the mind's eye of the reader." The Midwest Book Review
"...a storytelling triumph." The Source Weekly
A powerful novel about the women and men who work and play in Nevada’s small-town casinos
About the Author
Mary Sojourner is a fiction writer, columnist, activist, and National Public Radio commentator. She is the author of six books and is a dedicated defender of the environment. She writes and lives in Bend, Oregon.
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