In the fall of 1930, Charley, not yet born, knows what happened to his father Doc as he lay dying. Like a changing of guards upon his death, Doc transfers over his consciousness to his unborn son.
Now sharing the life of his dead father, Charley has no choice except to carry out his father’s plans, including taking revenge on Doc’s killer. Despite the consequences.
Charley floats in and out of juvie, jail, and finally ends up in the U.S. Naval Hospital’s mental ward as a perfect candidate for the government’s “Project Chatter.”
Confused and threatened, Charley only wants to live like a normal person and marry the woman he loves, goals that feel impossible unless he can somehow get rid of his father’s beyond-the-grave influence.
This is a hard one. It actually names the “phenomenon of transferring one’s consciousness into a pure form at the time of death.” Phowa (a Buddhist meditation practice ).
Doc dies, but it isn’t an accident. His unborn son receives his restless and spiteful spirit. He’ll want retribution. There is no simple way to properly review this book. It’s complicated, unusual, I doubt you’ve read another like it. The cast of characters are at opposing sides of the moral compass and I felt the most sympathy for the mother, Phoebe. Phoebe is a gifted concert pianist and introduces to the well-drawn plot the myth of Beethovan’s curse…the curse of the ninth. (He died before he could complete his tenth symphony.)
There are issues here–many. Doc was married before–to Stella, who gave him two sons and a daughter. Stella was an alcoholic and made life miserable before Doc met Phoebe, who transformed his life and was about to give him a baby. A son…Charley. And it is Charley’s POV that drives the book along with a stellar cast of support characters–most flawed, bitter relatives, thieving partners, one of whom convinces the widow her new son needs a dad.
And Charley, the most egregiously damaged, possessed of his father’s vengeful spirit and often uninvited voice. The complex tale follows Charley’s life-long struggle with Doc’s spirit, failing to evict him after numerous attempts. Charley possesses the amazing musical ability of his mother and the strains of the Ode to Joy often weaves in and throughout the pages (indeed I plugged into the YouTube version), steeped in prose and philosophy, arguments of mental illness.
Set during the 30s through 1949, much of the narrative is relayed through sessions with Dr. Savage, a Navy psychiatrist, in an effort to determine how Charley should be diagnosed and discharged. At this point, Charley seems a ne’er do well, constantly at odds with the voice in his head, and who wouldn’t diagnose him as schizophrenic? Boy does that open a can of worms!
A compelling read, whether or not rooting for Charley. A strange mixture of the occult, historical reference, and poetic prose. Beautiful description, engaging author writing style, although I was a little dismayed by the conclusion. A family story from the author years in research, her grandfather would be proud.
I received this digital download directly from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Looking for something different? Recommended to any interested in the occult, spiritual world, myths, eastern philosophy, even literary and historical fiction. Kudos to the author for weaving a fascinating tale between fact and fiction. 4.5/5 stars
Genre: Occult Fiction, Literary Fiction, Occult Horror
Publisher: E L Marker
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: January 19, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
The Author: Ruthie Marlenée “Like her main character Charlie, Ruthie Marlenée grew up hearing wild, colorful stories about her wealthy, entrepreneurial grandfather…The result (of a suggestion from her father) is her novel, “Curse of the Ninth,” a tale based on real and imagined events. After almost twenty years since the kernel of the idea was planted, after going back to UCLA to workshop the story, after earning her Writers’ Certificate in Fiction and a nomination for a James Kirkwood Literary Award for “Curse of the Ninth”, Marlenée is happy to find a home with the WiDo/E.L. Marker Family of Publishers. A company Marlenée describes as “a personable and genuine organization willing to take this project on.”
Marlenée believes that writing is about using your imagination and so sometimes when she writes she can’t help but add bits of magic or elements of speculation. In her current novel, she marries the notion of the Curse of the Ninth Symphony, where a composer is doomed to complete a tenth, together with the Buddhist meditation practice of Phowa, the transference of consciousness at time of death.”
Taken in part from an article dated October 2, 2018, WiDō Publishingtm, Novelist and Screenwriter Ruthie Marlenée Signs with E.L. Marker™ See full article here.
©2020 V Williams
2 thoughts on “Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie Marlenée – a #BookReview”
Thank you so much for your kind words! You’ve brightened my day.
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you are very welcome! i certainly enjoyed your book and appreciate your comment.