The Ghost Theatre
November 9, 2023 10:22 AM - Subscribe

A wild and hallucinatory reimagining of Elizabethan London, with its bird worshippers, famed child actors, and the Queen herself; a dazzling historical novel about theatre, magic, and the dangers of all-consuming love.

London, 1601—a golden city soon to erupt in flames. Shay is a messenger-girl, falconer, and fortune teller who sees the future in the patterns of birds. Nonesuch is the dark star of the city’s fabled Blackfriars Theatre, where a cast of press-ganged boys perform for London’s gentry. When the pair meet, Shay falls in love with the performances—and with Nonesuch himself. As their bond deepens, they create the Ghost Theatre, an underground troupe that performs fantastical plays in the city’s hidden corners. As their fame grows the troupe fans the flames of rebellion among the city’s outcasts, and the lovers are drawn into the dark web of the Elizabethan court. Embattled, with the plague on the rise throughout the country, the Queen seeks a reading from Shay, a moment which unleashes chaos not only in Shay’s life, but across the whole of England too.

A fever-dream full of prophecy and anarchy, gutter rats and bird gods, Mat Osman’s The Ghost Theatre is a wild ride from the rooftops of Elizabethan London to its dark underbelly, and a luminous meditation on double lives and fluid identities and the bewitching, transformative nature of art and power, with a bittersweet love affair at its heart. Set amid the vividly rendered England of Osman’s imagination and written in rich, seductive prose, The Ghost Theatre will have readers under its spell from the very first page.

(Mat Osman is also the bassist for the British band Suede.)

A pacy Elizabethan adventure: Erica Wagner, Guardian review

Hauntingly beautiful: Prudence Wade, The Independent
posted by rednikki (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
bookmarked! sounds right up my alley
posted by supermedusa at 11:04 AM on November 9

This book was fantastic. I learned about things I never knew about the Elizabethan era, like the Blackfriars Boys. The quality of the writing is also just wonderful. But it combines lyricality and propulsiveness in equal measure. I was really engaged by the characters, and was surprised by things that were in hindsight inevitable. It is an excellent book and well worth reading.
posted by rednikki at 5:38 PM on November 9

« Older Book: Free Agents: How Evoluti...   |  Special Event: Film Crew: KILL... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments