Blind Walls
by Conrad Fisher and Elizabeth Fuller
WordWorkers Press

"I was seeing what I had never seen before."

Raymond Smollett’s retirement as a tour guide for Weatherlee House is imminent. During his last tour, the ghostly inhabitants of the mansion reveal themselves room by room to Smollett who is blind. These “babbling apparitions” he has been telling stories about for years are there before him, living out their lives for him to observe.The eccentric heiress, Sophia Weatherlee, born in 1839, spends much of her time consulting with the foreman and carpenter who builds the endless projects that have made Weatherlee House an architectural oddity for tourists.

Inspired by the real-life Sarah Winchester who created a labyrinthine mansion, Bishop and Fuller have constructed a story rich with imagined detail and visionary ideas about life’s possibilities. The cast of ghostly characters, servants, workman, and family light up the story with dramatic effect as their actions and choices are observed. Listening in on conversations throughout the endless rooms feels effortless as Weatherlee philosophizes, the workman problem-solves, and the tour guide interjects. Smollett keeps everyone moving and on track even as the shock of second sight leaves him full of questions and wonder. This effective narrative structure that alternates between Smollett in the first person and the ghosts in the third person opens the story up to an array of possibilities and captures the variety of life. The old and the young, working class and wealthy, men and women all have a voice and a scene to explore their tragedies and comedies.

The authors’ prose is effortless and moves easily from humorous to weighted seriousness. The dialogue is perceptive, giving voice to compelling characters and particularly to the tour guide whose second sight he confers on the readers. The latter will not want to look away from the myriad rooms of Weatherlee House.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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