by William Alexander
Simon & Schuster, 2013. 166 pgs. Fiction
Ghoulish Song is a companion volume to Alexander's National Book Award winning Goblin Secrets, and takes place in the same odd community of Zombay, with the poor Southern section and the rich Northern section, and a flooding river that threatens them both. Kaile is a baker's daughter. Her mother bakes bread and pastries, and brews ale. The family's public house is due for inspection on the day our story begins. Everything must be perfect, or the baker will be placed in an iron cage and dunked in the river for three straight days. But when a troupe of goblins asks to perform for the customers, Kaile agrees, thinking the Inspector will have come before they arrive. He doesn't. Her parents kick the goblins out and they start raining curses down on the household. She gives them the best bread so they will lift the curse, and the public house fails inspection. But worse than that, when the goblins give Kaile a flute and she plays it, she loses her shadow and becomes dead to her family and her community. In the company of her unattached shadow, she wanders here and there trying to discover the secrets of her flute which only plays one song, with mysterious consequences. Will Kaile be able to master her flute in time to save her city? will she and her shadow ever be reunited and she accepted into her family again? These questions are answered in Alexander's rich narrative, a welcome addition to the literature of Zombay.