all the beloved ghosts

UK edition

Published by Bloomsbury UK/USA, Penguin Canada, and Tokyo Sogensha

Shortlisted for The 2018 Edge Hill Prize for Best Short Story Collection (UK/Ireland)

Shortlisted for The 2017 Governor General’s Award for Fiction (Canada)

A ‘Best Book of 2017’, the Guardian

A ‘Book of the Summer’ for the Huffington Post, The Lady, Chatelaine, and THE WEEK

A ‘Book of the Year’ for PASTE

‘Alison MacLeod, the author of the Man Booker-listed novel Unexploded, seamlessly knits together essayistic and imaginative modes of writing in her second short-story collection All the Beloved Ghosts (Bloomsbury). Historical figures such as Sylvia Plath, Princess Diana, Anton Chekhov and Angelica Garnett rub shoulders with fictional characters and the author herself in a series of emotionally powerful meditations… MacLeod’s formal sophistication and her impeccably elegant, richly textured prose make this another collection to savour.’  Edmund Gordon, THE SUNDAY TIMES

‘MacLeod is dazzlingly good at evoking a whole life through a single snapshot and at bending and stretching her prose as she moves between an impressive range of narrative personae.’  Lara Feigel, THE GUARDIAN

‘[A] joy to read… exceptionally accomplished’  Claire Looby, THE IRISH TIMES

‘[I]mpressive, ambitious and abundant… There’s a feeling of great generosity to these stories….  The subject matter really dazzles.’  Margaret Wilkinson, MSLEXIA

‘If you read only one book of short stories this year, it should be this one.’  Christina Appleyard, DAILY MAIL

“We’ll be surprised if there is a better collection of short stories published … this year”  BOOKMUNCH

An ‘accomplished feast…The tone is elegiac, darkly humorous and deeply sensual… MacLeod is a gently playful but fearless writer…’  Clarissa Hurley, ATLANTIC BOOKS TODAY

A ‘captivating and intricate interweaving of biography, fiction and memoir that explores themes of ghosts (both historical and familial), loss and love.’   CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) BOOKS

American edition

All the Beloved Ghosts is a far-reaching and graceful suite of short fiction… Each piece touches the heart of what it means to be alive.’  Cameron WoodheadTHE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

‘Each of MacLeod’s stories is beautifully lifelike, yet ghostly…   [A] stunning short story collection to read and re-read (and re-read again).’  Kyra Thomsen, NSW (New South Wales) WRITERS’ CENTRE REVIEW

‘Straddling fiction and non-fiction, involving incidents and persons that are grounded in both the personal and the historical, the stories showcase MacLeod’s ability to imagine in and around facts, and to challenge our own assumptions about and relationships to such facts… MacLeod compassionately delineates human foibles and idiosyncrasies; indeed, her characters are beguiling, compelling readers to tarry at moments of emotional intensity, tenderness, and illumination.’  Linda Morra, CANADIAN LITERATURE: A QUARTERLY OF CRITICISM AND REVIEW

‘A captivating kaleidoscope of tales’  THE WEEK

‘Through nuanced and often lyrical prose, MacLeod imbues cultural figures and events with color and emotional authenticity. Even rumors are swaddled in a luminous believability until they are beyond doubt. Many of the characters in All the Beloved Ghosts are figures lost to the past, including some historical icons such as poet Sylvia Plath, Princess Diana, and Virginia Woolf’s niece, Angelica Garnett. Even the author’s great-aunt makes an appearance as a main character. Resurrected and celebrated through finely honed storytelling, they are spirit made flesh again… They are the current, the mortal — those with heft and presence, an internal monologue, a beating heart and tender parts, and the capacity to love and be loved…[A]n astute and compassionate observer of human nature.’  Yoona Lee, LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS

A “beautifully written collection of short fiction and personal essays that imagine the stories of departed souls, both famous and anonymous… MacLeod, a Canadian writer who lives in England, is a true literary talent.”  A ‘Book of the Summer’, CHATELAINE

Canadian edition

a “brilliant gathering of short fiction”  (starred review) BOOKLIST

a “captivating book of stories”  PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

‘Compelling characters and pin-sharp insights into their emotional and psychological landscapes are Alison MacLeod’s strong suit … an intriguing blend of domestic realism, the supernatural and leaps of the imagination … These are arresting tales; undercurrents of passion swirl beneath their controlled, elegant surfaces.’  Juanita Coulson, A ‘Book of the Summer‘, THE LADY

‘MacLeod blends memoir and fiction to stunning effect in her short story collection, blurring the lines between life and death as she explores the nature of memory. In “Sylvia Wears Pink in the Underworld” and “Dreaming Diana: Twelve Frames,” she examines our relationship to celebrities after their death. While in stories like “The Thaw” and ‘The Heart of Denis Noble,” MacLeod crafts intimate portraits of individuals at the end of their lives. The collection’s haunting prose is by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, transforming the stories’ heavy themes into something entirely unique.’ A ‘Best Book of 2017’  for PASTE MAGAZINE

‘…MacLeod mixes fiction with fact and memoir with metaphysics …[in] writing that walks the edge of beauty and darkness’  THE RUMPUS

‘…clever and meaningful… perfectly balanced, told with wit, insight and delicious phrasing’  Anne Hill, SUSSEX LIFE

‘All The Beloved Ghosts is an evocative, masterfully written collection of 12 stories that invokes and creatively re-imagines familial and historical “ghosts”. The stories range from one about the author’s great-aunt set in 1920s Nova Scotia, to tales spun from the public lives of historical and literary icons such as Princess Diana, American poet Sylvia Plath and Russian writer Anton Chekhov. The lines between reality and fiction, and the living and the dead, are constantly blurred. Often it is MacLeod who does the haunting, stepping in and projecting the workings of her imagination onto episodes in these people’s lives… And central to all 12 stories are matters of the heart… Her writing is intricately wrought and moves with incredible subtlety… No word is misplaced: this is an author in full control of her craft.’   Toh Wen Li, THE STRAITS TIMES

‘Short story lovers will devour Alison MacLeod’s evocative all the beloved ghosts.  (Editor’s Pick) STYLIST MAGAZINE

Japanese edition

‘MacLeod has…produced a ground-breaking collection of short stories that strike with such power and tenderness the reader can’t help but be moved… Utterly brilliant.  [A]n intrinsically beautiful collection of short stories…’  STORGY MAGAZINE

‘Wide-ranging and haunting, this collection seamlessly blends memoir, biography, and imagination to create narratives that explore the edges of reality and the ghosts that exist there… All these stories are written in striking prose… with compassion and genuine human emotion.   A uniquely cohesive collection of short examinations of aging, death, and living, these stories are subtly moving and thoroughly engaging.’ (starred review) KIRKUS REVIEW

‘In this new short story collection, Alison MacLeod works with what matters.  She never flinches from the real and the present yet she breathes such life into memory that past worlds scintillate on the page.  Her prose is urgent, unexpected, and robust, moving effortlessly between time frames and never ceasing to be beautiful…. It is a marvellous and unerringly poignant piece of work.’   Michèle Forbes, author of GHOST MOTH

‘MacLeod’s stories are stunning vignettes of the subconscious’ desire… I love how [she] sets up the stories in All the Beloved Ghosts to reflect not just the past—but each other as well—creating an infinity mirror out of their suggested meaning. There is a certain liminal dexterity in MacLeod’s prose, in the way her characters pull back their worlds’ temporal veils to traverse time and space…’  KGB BAR LIT

‘The stories exercise a hypnotic effect, providing a kaleidoscope of life, colour and anguish.’  Charlotte Heathcote, ‘The Best New Literary Fiction’, DAILY EXPRESS

‘Short story gold’  MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

‘This collection’s taut, restrained prose belies bravery, as the author walks a tightrope between fiction and reality. Chekhov narrates his own death, Tony Blair is put under citizen’s arrest (I cheered!), and ordinary men and women have conversations that make a reader want to lean in, as if to eavesdrop. Alison MacLeod’s range and ambition are uniquely impressive.’ Debbie Willis, author of THE DARK AND OTHER LOVE STORIES

‘…judging by All the Beloved Ghosts… short fiction has nothing to worry about…  [E]very detail, from a person’s vernacular to the contents of their purse, has been marshaled to conjure a coherent, complex individual who exists beyond the glance afforded by the text. MacLeod’s prose is evocative, densely packed with sensory description, and versatile…’  Bardia Sinaee, QUILL & QUIRE

‘Throughout these stories we’re reminded, with skilful subtlety, of just how much the past is integral to the present.’  COUNTRY LIFE

‘The braiding effect of All the Beloved Ghosts is one of the beauties of this collection from story to story. Each piece deftly ties together moments of human connection, of isolation, of our ties to the past and the infinite possibilities of choices we haven’t made. Each story is similarly tied to the next…Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of All the Beloved Ghosts is how unique each story is.’  VANGUARD