Sometimes, when I read things written by British or Aussie writers, I feel the story suffers from my lack of knowledge of slang and terminology. It made The Attic Tragedy more beautiful and served its sucker-punches more viciously.
George is dealing with all the things that make adolescence hell: school, the primary devil, and a budding crush with a fellow outcast, Sylvie, a particular demon. Sylvie makes it all worth it though with her gentle whimsy and accepting soul–it doesn’t hurt that Sylvie is magical. It’s not just that she’s beyond a dream, she says she sees ghosts. George can’t help but fall hopelessly for the ethereal beauty. But life doesn’t end at high school; neither does George’s story.
“Don’t be sorry,” she said. “Don’t ever be sorry. You’re beautiful, George. You’re tree roots and fresh mown grass and the smell of rocks and apples. What’s inside you is so real, so alive. It’s burning you up.”The Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-Smith
J. Ashley-Smith weaves a tale of trials, failures, and successes centered around protagonist George and her struggle with self-acceptance and inner squabbles with self-loathing. Centering around vignettes of heartbreak as she watches Sylvie grow up, and away, from the girlhood qualities that made her so unique to become a wife and mother to a smarmy prig.
This book is quite magical. Highly recommendable.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary advance copy of this book.
Title: The Attic Tragedy
Author: J. Ashley-Smith
Genre: LGBTQIA+, Coming of Age, Paranormal, Dark Fantasy
Release Date: 19 June 2020
Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that’s what they were—not that George ever saw them herself. The new girl, Sylvie, is like a creature from another time, with her old-fashioned leather satchel, her white cotton gloves and her head in the clouds. George watches her drift around the edge of the school playing fields, guided by inaudible voices.
When George stands up for Sylvie, beating back Tommy Payne and his gang of thugs, it brings her close to the ethereal stranger; though not as close as George would have liked. In the attic of Sylvie’s father’s antique shop, George’s scars will sing and her longing will drive them both toward a tragedy as veiled and inevitable as Sylvie’s whispering ghosts.
About J. Ashley- Smith:
J. Ashley Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and other materials.
J.’s short stories have twice won national competitions and been shortlisted five times for Aurealis Awards, winning both Best Horror (Old Growth, 2017) and Best Fantasy (The Further Shore, 2018).
J. lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.
Connect with J. Ashley-Smith: