Blog Tour - The Hungry Ghost by HS Norup
Blog Tour Review
The Hungry Ghost by H S Norup
Freja arrives in Singapore during the month of the hungry ghost, when old spirits are said to roam the streets and families must make offerings to appease their ancestors. She’s homesick for her Danish hometown and isn’t sure she fits in with the ‘happy family’ of her father, her step-mother and twin step-brothers.
As Freja tries to settle into her new life, a mysterious girl in a white dress starts to appear to her, seeming to beckon her on. Following this figure, Freja begins to unravel an old family mystery – one that must be solved before the month is over, to allow both girls to be freed from secrets long-buried.
Powerfully emotional and haunting, The Hungry Ghost is a beautiful tale about loss, grieving and remembering the dead, that had me in tears.
In The Hungry Ghost, H S Norup has created an incredible sense of place, with the Singapore setting an intrinsic and essential part of the story. This comes through so many different elements of the book, and combines to create something very special. It's in the food, it's in the shopping, in the wonderful descriptions of areas and wildlife, but most of all it's in the mythology. The mythology of Singapore is something I knew very little about going in to the story, but it is captivating and gorgeous. Contemporary/other worlds fantasies are one of my favourite types of stories and when Freja steps into an older, mythological Singapore with dragons and white tigers, it's all beautifully realised, with everything having that off-kilter, surreal, dreamlike feeling, yet at the same time it felt very grounded in the mythology of the region. The contrast between old Singapore and the modern environment was also quite startling and added to the atmosphere of a story about one place in two different times.
The mystery at the heart of the story was something I loved. I felt, throughout, that I was almost there, so close to putting the whole thing together and figuring out what was going on, and yet it kept me guessing and wondering and completely gripped to the very end. It was the perfect balance, feeding clues and hints without ever letting it become too obvious until the beautiful reveal in its own time.
Another element that really got me feeling rather emotional was the depiction of family life. Blended family stories are hard to do well, and very hard to do this well. It is complex, and complicated, and everyone has their own point of view, their own feelings and hurts and needs and, somehow, H S Norup manages to pull all of this together to show us a family that is complicated and realistic and quite beautiful in its own way.
The Hungry Ghost is complex, mysterious and beautifully emotional. I love it.
🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕The Hungry Ghost by H S Norup is out now, from Pushkin Press. I was given an ebook copy in return for an honest review.