"While many writers find it convenient to create entire fantasy worlds for their magic, there are others who specialize in discovering the hidden magic in our own lives, and one of the best of these is Graham Joyce....[The Ghost is the Electric Blue Suit]'s real magic lies in its flawless evocation of a disappeared era, and the sense of almost apocalyptic dislocation provided by the heat, the swarming insects and — on a darker note — the increasingly disturbing political atmosphere of late '70s England.
“This novel’s characters, major, minor, and in-between, are as finely formed and evenly wound as Joyce’s readers have come to expect…Vivid…a voyage of inwardly directed discovery filled with grubbiness and poignancy, elation and regret. [A] nearly perfect book…Like a poem, every one of this book’s parts play off each other; like an unforgettable refrain of days gone by.”
--The Seattle Times
“Joyce has built a cult following…If he keeps writing books as engrossing as [The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit], Joyce might enjoy a transition from cult following to full-blown religion among a legion of readers. He certainly deserves it.”
"What's the line between falsehood and fantasy? Between fear and horror? Between other worlds and the ones we carry inside our heads? Graham Joyce has been asking — and brilliantly answering — these questions for years...Joyce has written a jewel of a novel that blends gentle nostalgia, Bildungsroman angst, and a glimpse of the dark, unreal places where loss and memory mingle...Unearthly, but it's also wonderfully funny...His prose is exquisite."
"Beautiful, available women; ugly racist shenanigans; haunting apparitions. They all come with a college student’s summer job in this marvelously juicy entertainment from the British fantasist [Graham Joyce]… Joyce folds [the] supernatural element gracefully into a realistic coming-of-age work that is also an evocation of a vanishing subculture….There’s so much to enjoy here, from the fake stage magic of a woman sawn in half to the real magic of a gifted professional at work."
“Joyce expertly captures a certain time and place, when family resorts were fading out and political extremism was on the rise, overlaying his snapshot with a subtle hint of the supernatural.”
“Joyce is a master of dialogue and character…his sweltering summer escapades make for a terrific and absorbing read.”
“Really scary … erotic and darkly supernatural.”
– Library Journal
"In The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit, Joyce weaves a bizarre, colorful story, full of nostalgia, indecision, emotion and tension, and this genre-spanning novel is sure to be a favorite of fantasy, suspense and thriller fans."
“Joyce's most remarkable achievement is the tense atmosphere of this slim and haunting novel, simultaneously dreamy and chilling….An entrancing fantasy of a young man's search for past and future in a single summer of change.”
--Shelf Awareness (Starred review)
“Graham Joyce deftly paints the environment and loads it up with a host of characters, each one more surprising than the last….The pages fly by as quickly as the sun-drenched summer days of youth, leaving in their wake the feeling of having added David’s memories of his wild summer at the beach to our own consciousness.”
At the start of the latest novel from Joyce (Some Kind of Fairy Tale), a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1976, college student David Barwise arrives in Skegness, a gritty English seaside holiday resort, looking for a job. Although his decision is prompted partly by a desire to avoid working for his stepfather, David also wants to revisit the beach where, when he was three years old, he witnessed his father die of a heart attack. He has long suspected that his family has never told him the full story. After landing a job at the resort, David immerses himself in the hardscrabble world of carnies, fortune-tellers, and worn-out comedians. His kindness and humility enable him to make friends quickly, including with, to everyone’s surprise, the volatile, anti-immigrant, English nationalist Colin. But when David proves unable to refuse the advances of Colin’s wife, Terri, the resulting tension is palpable. Precisely because Joyce is a master of dialogue and character, the artificial plot complications provided by the mystery of David’s unresolved past feel unnecessary, but, otherwise, his sweltering summer escapades make for a terrific and absorbing read. Agent: Doug Stewart and Madeleine Clark, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)
It's 1976 and David Barwise has just joined the staff of a fading holiday resort on the coast of England. It's a summer of discovery for David; some of his coworkers are involved heavily in the National Front (anti-immigrant) movement. He's also caught in a romantic triangle with a damaged woman while ignoring the kinder, easier, and better match. And there are the ghosts of his deceased father and his three-year-old self to contend with—his father died years ago of an apparent heart attack in the same coastal town where he now works. While Graham's novel invites comparisons to Stephen King's Joyland, it stands on its own literary merits. It's luminously written, with just a few sparkles of the uncanny. A few Britishisms may throw American readers out of the story, but the well-developed plot and the likable characters will draw them back in. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy their coming-of-age tales with a hint of dark fantasy. Older teens will also enjoy. This should be the book that brings to award-winning Joyce (Some Kind of Fairy Tale) the wider attention he deserves.—Jennifer Mills, Shorewood-Troy Lib., IL
Beautiful, available women; ugly racist shenanigans; haunting apparitions. They all come with a college student’s summer job in this marvelously juicy entertainment from the British fantasist (Some Kind of Fairy Tale, 2012, etc.).Back in the day, there were English coastal resorts that gave working-class families a week of strenuous fun. Working-class himself, David Barwise looks for work at the Skegness resort, drawn there because of his father’s fatal heart attack on the beach when he was a toddler. It’s 1976, and the heat, strangely, is scorching. David is hired as a utility player at the tacky resort, working with both kids and grannies. He’s an appealing lad, if a touch naïve, and a hit with the friendly vacationers, but life is far from problem-free. He’s drawn into the orbit of two cleaners, Colin and his gorgeous wife, Terri. Colin, a brutal ex-con and abusive husband, makes David report any flirtations Terri may have, not realizing the student is a prime suspect; Terri and David feel a strong mutual attraction. On another front, David is bamboozled into attending an anti-immigrant fascist meeting, which lands him in hot water with another gorgeous woman, the half-Guyanese dancer Nikki. And there are his visions: a man in a blue suit with a boy. David feels revulsion. A primal fear is alive in him; a psychic, the resort’s resident laundry woman, will help him work through the trauma. Joyce folds this supernatural element gracefully into a realistic coming-of-age work that is also an evocation of a vanishing subculture. David is torn between Terri and Nikki; then Terri disappears, and Colin summons him, late at night, to dispose of some heavy plastic bags….There’s so much to enjoy here, from the fake stage magic of a woman sawn in half to the real magic of a gifted professional at work.