McGuire knows about ghosts and witches. She introduced us to many different kinds of people - routewitches, crossroads ghosts, etc. - in Sparrow Hill Road. Here in the Dusk, it is a different world of fables and tales, but there are ghosts and witches just the same. There are ghosts in mirrors and witches in cornfields, only sometimes the ghosts are getting coffee and pie, and the corn witch is playing guitar in the corner of the diner.
Ghosts have threads of life, too, we learn, and when they are cut short, someone has to weave in the days and years that span the difference between the time of death and the time of dying day. Jenna died too early, running away from grief. So she went to New York City to try to earn herself onward to her actual time of death, one precious lifesaving minute at a time. And then she found out that someone was stealing ghosts out of existence.
There's a plot in this book, but like McGuire's recent book Every Heart a Doorway, this book is not about plot. It is about knowing yourself and being kind to others. It is about hearts coming together to weave the fabric of society stronger against the pull of greed and the entropy of indifference. The story is also about knowing where you are going, and about finally going home.
Here's a thought to keep you up at night:
My gran used to tell us stories about goblin markets and dangerous fairy men back when Patty and I were small, and sometimes the city reminds me of those old fables. This is where you go to get lost. This is where you go to lose yourself. Maybe that's why we have the second highest population of the dead in the United States. The highest is in Las Vegas, where everything is twilight and neon and no one notices if your eyes bleed screams and your skin feels like slow murder.
Books read in 2017