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Riddance - Or: The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children - cover

Riddance - Or: The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children

Shelley Jackson

Publisher: Black Balloon Publishing

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In the supernatural and imagined intertextual spirit of Lincoln in the Bardo and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, with a dash of Guillermo del Toro, comes the long-awaited return of Shelley Jackson (Half Life) and her new novel, Riddance
For readers of Kelly Link, Samantha Hunt, Lynne Tillman, Carmen Maria Machado, Neil Gaiman, and other authors who blend, break, and celebrate genre in their fiction
Jackson is well connected in the artistic and literary communities in New York, and is a creative and committed self-advocate. Her Instagram snow story project has over 2,600 followers; more than 2,000 people participated in her “Skin” tattoo project  
Contained in the "papers from the archives" of the Sybil Joines Vocational School: dispatches from travels in the land of the dead, theoretical writings in necrophysics, diagrams, maps, drawings, translations of the ectoplasmic objects disgorged by advanced students, sound files, and homework assignments for would-be students
 The designer of cover and interior art, Zachary Thomas Dodson, is a well-connected author in his own right (Bats of the Republic, 2015); the interior contains approximately thirty-three color and black-and-white images, illustrations, and graphs
 We’re exploring options to have additional content in the ebook edition
 Author events in October 2018: New York, NY in Portand, OR; Berkeley, CA; Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; Cambridge, MA; Brooklyn, NY; participating in NEIBA Fall Trade Show in September

Bookseller praise for Riddance

"I'm not sure when last I encountered such word play, such weirdness, such slapping brilliance. It's a little like Jonathan Strange and The Magicians had a love child, looked at it aghast, gulped, and let it go to town, removing the fork from its hand just before it stuck it into an electric outlet. . . . Weird, wonderful, bizarre, hilarious, and really quite amazing." —Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC)
"As a longtime fan of Shelley Jackson, I was incredibly excited to read her new book—and it exceeded even my sizable expectations. Riddance is a wild dream written in extraordinarily precise and stunning prose. A ghost story, an alternative scientific universe, and the story of some thrillingly compelling characters, Riddance is the most original and innovative novel I've read in years." —Jill Owens, Powell's Books (Portland, OR) 
"Bless Black Balloon for letting this book be as big (in size and scope) as Shelley Jackson and Zachary Dodson needed it to be. You'll be mesmerized by these stories of a (fictional but credible) school for children with speech disorders. The book uses the faux anthology form to great effect—each chapter is a found document that either clarifies or makes more mysterious just what happened at the Sybil Joines Vocational School. Jackson's writing is perfectly braided with Dodson's illustrations (documents, figures, charts) in this one-of-a-kind book." —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)
"A speech impediment leads eleven-year-old Jane to enroll at a special school for children who stutter, there to learn a way to overcome their difficulties. Yet that is not exactly why Sybil Joines' school takes in these children. The truth is more disturbing, since it's really all about life after death, channeling the dead, and something called 'necrophysics.' Jane becomes Ms. Joines' new stenographer (taking notes dictated by the headmistress while she is 'on the other side'), and at first, all goes well. And then a child disappears. The terror of reality soon draws the attention of parents, authorities, and, well, things go a bit downhill from there. Fans of Miss Pettigrew will love Riddance." —Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore (Spokane, WA)
"A small girl, a stutterer, mistreated by family and schoolmates, is invited to attend a boarding school for those like her. Sybil Joines, the headmistress, believes that stuttering, when properly channeled, is a highly evolved method of communication with the dead. Necrophysics, the study of the relationship between this world and the next, is Joines's raison d'etre. But the periodic disappearances of boarders and alarming events that occur cause an existential threat to the school that she cannot tolerate. The history of the school is told from multiple points of view that bear witness to the grotesque school. This is a fully realized world, dark and challenging, with three-dimensional characters and accompanying illuminations and artifacts so realistic that you soon forget this is fiction. Riddance is an astounding feat of imagination."  —Cindy Pauldine, the river's end bookstore (Oswego, NY)
"Riddance is unlike anything I’ve read. It’s a sprawling novel that’s part ghost story, part fictionalized scientific research and history, and part mystery with other thrilling facets in between. Jackson’s writing is precise, and it’s wonderful to let her lead you down complex narrative path she builds. Riddance is utterly original and brilliant!" —Sarah Cassavant, Subtext Books (St. Paul, MN)

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