The Ghost Theatre (Hardback)Mat Osman (author)
The Suede bassist unleashes his lushly evocative novel of hawk-trainers and child actors caught up in the dark glamour and tumult of Elizabethan London.
To love is to fall ...
On a rooftop in Elizabethan London two worlds collide. Shay is a messenger-girl and trainer of hawks who sees the future in the patterns of birds. Nonesuch is the dark star of the city's fabled child theatre scene, as famous as royalty yet lowly as a beggar.
Together they create The Ghost Theatre: a troupe staging magical plays in London's hidden corners. As their hallucinatory performances incite rebellion among the city's outcasts, the pair's relationship sparks and burns against a backdrop of the plague and a London in flames.
Their growing fame sweeps them up into the black web of the Elizabethan court, where Shay and Nonesuch discover that if they fly too high, a fall is sure to come...
Fantastical and captivating, The Ghost Theatre charts the rise and dramatic destruction of a dream born from love and torn apart by betrayal.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm
‘A master storyteller, judging from his virtuoso novel … a great read [that] makes you look at a familiar historical period through fresh eyes’ - Mail on Sunday
‘An excellent novel – riotous and abundant, full of vivid, dirty life’ - The Guardian
'Rich and evocating; the kind of story you get lost in' - The Independent
'The Ghost Theatre finds its way into the hidden corners of Elizabethan London, telling the story of a group of misfit actors. Beautifully written and completely convincing’ - Alex Preston, Observer
"Combining breath-taking world-building with vivid characterisation … An imaginative tour-de-force of theatre, magic, love and betrayal" - Editor's Pick - The Bookseller
"This imaginative novel brings a raucous, evocative world to life" - Sunday Express
'Wildly inventive and full of fantastical elements jostling alongside gritty realism’ - The Times
A story of rebellion and magic, of mysticism and broken love in the streets and theatres and rooftops of Elizabethan London. Beautifully written, delicate and sad. I'm still haunted by it. - Mariana Enriquez, author of Our Share of the Night
"A blistering ride" - i news
Dramatic and gripping, The Ghost Theatre pulled me on a breathless journey of hope, beauty, wonder, tragedy, and the power of theatre. - Isabelle Schuler
“The star of the show in The Ghost Theatre is Osman's fanciful rendering of Elizabethan England, sometimes dreamlike, sometimes apocalyptic, depicted with such a wealth of sensory detail that it blurs the line between memory and fantasy.” - Dexter Palmer
"Smart, bold, and original, THE GHOST THEATRE brings to life a slantwise Elizabethan London where appearance is everything and nothing you see can be trusted. Every page is alive with the heady, dangerous energy of an opening night, and Shay and Nonesuch are unforgettable. For readers who like their historical fiction with imagination and flair, this book is a must-read." - Allison Epstein, author of A Tip for the Hangman
A wild, vivid, eerie flight of imagination about the stories we live, and those we tell others. Utterly transporting. - Catriona Ward
Stunning! I devoured The Ghost Theatre and when I finished I couldn’t stop thinking about it; all I wanted was to be back in that world. Beautifully written; rich and evocative with shades of Angela Carter. - Ever Dundas
I was utterly immersed in the world of Shay and Nonesuch, swept into the ordure and shine of Elizabethan London, felt the mad rush of performance and the darkness after it has passed. The last third, with its reversal and manic dash had me furiously turning pages, the events of Saturnalia as big as the city itself. It is vivid, heady and brilliantly staged. - Stuart Evers
From the first page, Osman brings the underworld of Elizabethan London to life with its child theatres, rioting apprentices and anarchic riverine world, its jumble of squalor and glamour. The line between stagecraft and witchcraft is erased, and now larger-than-life heroes raise child rebellions; pursue exalted, treacherous love affairs; see the future in a flock of birds. As a reimagining of history, The Ghost Theatre has the subversive power of The Quincunx, with an added dash of prophetic magic and fantastical extravagance. Glorious! - Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens and Julia
If you don’t read anything else this year make sure you read this. - BBC Radio London
Written with wit, invention and a luxuriantly gorgeous prose style. This is historical fiction that's larger than life and twice as much fun. - Guardian, Summer Books 2023
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