Four themes weave together this novel set in the woods of Western Massachusetts: a single house and its myriad occupants across centuries, the ghosts of the inhabitants who linger in the house and can be perceived by some of the house’s occupants, a dive into the natural world and ever-changing woods that surround the house, and lastly the sweep of historical events as impacting the house’s owners.
The yellow house first gets constructed as small cabin, built by lovers who have run away from their Puritan colony. Next comes an English soldier and his spinster daughters who devotedly tend an apple orchard producing an extraordinarily delicious apple. What follows is a diverse cast of characters and lots of mayhem and murder: from people killed by the early settlers to a true crime reporter finding their mass grave, a gay naturalist painter who longs for his forbidden love, a Caribbean nurse, a killing panther, a famous actor, a deranged son who can see all the ghosts, and so on. Each of 12 stories get told connected to months of the year, and seasons of the woods.
Throughout out everything’s bursting with life: the bounty of nature, the string of people who live in the house, and even the ghosts themselves. And everything’s ultimately, deeply bound together across space and time.
Sumptuous pose dives deep into the natural world and humans’ fleeting place within it.
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.