Linghun by Ai Jiang is a haunting tale filled with sorrow where the living tries to reconnect with the dead, no matter the cost.
On the copyright page, there were a few content warnings including: Abuse, Child Abuse, Child Death, Death, Graphic Imagery, Racism, Trauma, and Violence.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Linghun by Ai Jiang
A tale told in three main perspectives, we meet Wenqi, Mrs., and Liam who are living in a small neighborhood called HOME, which stands for Homecoming Of Missing Entities. In this neighborhood, people inside the homes can summon the dead.
Most people will do anything they can to get one of the houses to see their loved ones again no matter the cost… but not every living person wants to be there, and not every dead person wishes to return to ‘haunt’ the space.
On this journey, we follow –
Wenqi – A young woman who has lost a brother. Her family moves into HOME to try to see him again, but she is tired of everything revolving around someone who is no longer there. She just wants to leave the neighborhood.
Mrs. – A neighbor across the street from Wenqi’s family who is still holding on to hope that her husband’s ghost will arrive after so many years. But even so, she is still processing her life with him.
Liam – One of the lingerers who lives out on the lawns of the homes with his parents. He is immediately drawn to Wenqi when she says she wants to leave and soon lets her know that he would like to leave as well.
This author did an amazing job organizing the overall storyline. I couldn’t put it down as I needed to see what would happen for each of the characters next!
It was so interesting to be dropping into this neighborhood right along with Wenqi. Readers get to learn more about the place as she does, seeing just how rotten it is at its core.
I really enjoyed this read, even with the darkness. And boy was there darkness! The scene at the auction was something of nightmares that you can absolutely see happening in the real world. While most of the other darkness hung heavy around families and their dynamics, and desperation to hold onto things that need to be released.
My Favorite Passages from Linghun
Candle holders sit in the middle of tables, some lit, some extinguished, with the wax dried and collected on the copper platter resting below. I run my finger along the books in the history section and skim through each title, though I’m not quite sure if this is the place to look. A chandelier dangles between each bookcase, offering dim light that flickers occasionally, and there is matted carpet with Victorian designs that seem to fade with each step.
On the shelves sit books with old, broken spines, worn covers, and marked-up pages that have been dog-eared, creased, or ripped out all together. The new books have glossy covers, tight binding, and clean, crisp pages, but none are more contemporary than the old beaten-up versions.
This town worships the dead, but it has no respect for the living.
My Final Thoughts On Linghun
This tale reads in a similar fashion as playing the Saran Wrap ball game around the holidays, but a wicked version as some of the treats we uncover along the way are sweet or interesting, while others are chilling or upsetting. Then once we hit the center, we’re left with questions.
Buckle in before picking this one up! It’s a fun yet dark ride of reflecting on what grief can do to people!
Thanks for reading!
And a shout-out to Little Ghosts Books for including a lovely signed copy in the April subscription box!