The Mercy of Thin Air, Ronlyn Domingue, Washington Square Press, 2005, 308pp
I was surprised by this book. I read it for one of my reading groups and by the cover I thought it was some kind of chick lit. Well, it is about a chick, but she is dead and has been since the 1920s. She is hanging around New Orleans as a spirit. It is the late 1990s and Razi, as she still thinks of herself, is "haunting" the house of a young couple. In her efforts to help them through a hard time, she finds the answers she has been seeking for 75 years.
Razi died in an accident, leaving behind her one true love, her dream of becoming a doctor and her conflict between the man and the career she wanted. The author does wonders in this story, portraying the spirits who have chosen to remain "between", evoking the different eras in New Orleans, and most of all giving us one of the better love stories I've read in a while.
There is mystery here as well, because despite her efforts Razi has lost track of Andrew, her lover. I actually had to pay close attention and do some work as a reader to follow the shifts in time and the many characters, as Razi pieced together the remnants of the lives she had left behind. By the end I felt like I was Razi; quite a feat of good writing.
As an extra treat, there were strong feminist characters throughout the story and a light but clear exposition of racism. All in all, a satisfying read and another example of fiction being alive and well in the new millennium.