Follow Wenqi, Liam, and Mrs. in this modern gothic ghost story by Chinese-Canadian writer and immigrant, Ai Jiang. LINGHUN is set in the mysterious town of HOME, a place where the dead live again as spirits, conjured by the grief-sick population that refuses to let go.
Linghun is a gothic horror novella, a new way to reinterpret the haunted house trope, written by the Chinese-Canadian Ai Jiang. A story set in the mysterious town of HOME, where the spirits materialize, conjured by the grief of their relatives; and also a demonstration of the Jiang's talent as a writer, changing between three characters and three different narrative styles.
Wenqi's family has moved to HOME, hoping they will reunite with the spirit of Wenqi's old brother, who died years ago. Soon enough into the story, we can appreciate how the family dynamic is actually toxic, at least from the perspective of Wenqi; they are so deeply into the grief and the pain, that she feels totally disconnect from them, especially because how everything is set around making his brother appear. There's no hope or illusion around the living.
Here's is where we get to know Liam, a son of a family that hopes to move into this neighbourhood. Jiang uses this perspective to portray how difficult and breaking is getting a house in HOME; you are required to become homeless, and live there meanwhile you are trying to win a bid for a building; Liam soon establishes a friendship relationship with Wenqi, but not all of his intentions are so pure. His family wants him to manipulate Wenqi into leaving, so they can get a house.
Jiang has crafted a really interesting story, exploring themes such as grief and the disconnection you can feel sometimes with those that are close to you. At the same time, we can see how there are big metaphors about the difficulties immigrants are living, having to renounce to everything in hope they can get that dream they are fighting for (in this case, the families moving to HOME).
I found quite interesting how this book has made me feel uncomfortable while reading it, hitting that sweet spot many horror books would like to get. That, paired with how Ai Jiang changes between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, made reading it a memorable experience.
I can't recommend Jinghun enough. I practically devoured it in one night, and if you like horror, you will absolutely love this book. Definitely this book has put a talented author on my radar.
Ai Jiang is a Chinese-Canadian writer, a Nebula Award finalist, and an immigrant from Fujian. She is a member of HWA, SFWA, and Codex. Her work can be found in F&SF, The Dark, Uncanny, The Masters Review, Prairie Fire, among others. She is the recipient of Odyssey Workshop’s 2022 Fresh Voices Scholarship and the author of Linghun and I AM AI. Find her on Twitter (@AiJiang_) and online (http://aijiang.ca).