Bellman & Black
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Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
3 of 5 stars
William Bellman is hardworking businessman who seems to have it all, until a plague hits town, taking those dear to him and planting in his mind the concept of a business with a curious partner and macabre purpose.
William lost himself in calculations. What was the measurement for bereavement? How to count, weigh, evaluate grief?
As much as I liked this book, it fell short of me loving it, though I so wanted to. It was as if all of the elements were there for a dark, haunting, beautiful story of life and death and grief, but the pieces just failed to fall into place. I think that having “A Ghost Story” on the front warped my expectations, so that when the “ghost” really ends up not being so much of a “ghost” as simply the dark presence of death overshadowing Bellman’s life, it’s quite the letdown. The mysterious Mr. Black was both too present and too absent, and the deal he strikes with Bellman is vague at best and left me wondering — well, I think I understand what just happened there…?
There also seemed to be a number of subplots and threads that just didn’t have any sort of follow-through — characters who never tied into the main plot, questions that weren’t answered, and parts where the author went into great detail about the smallest thing that then never amounted to anything. It left me feeling rather unsatisfied in the end.