Book Review – The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt

First published, 2020

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“I was born right here in this asylum – literally into bedlam; delivered into a stark white-tiled cell, in what I’ve come to think of as The Screaming Room. As quickly as I arrived, I left. Prised from my mother’s arms, I swapped one institution for another. But even as the car took me away, the darkness of my mother’s despair curled itself around my soul, anchoring me to her and my birthplace. I know this because I remember.”
First line, Chapter One, The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt

A dark one, this. The story is told by the Boy (who remains unnamed throughout the novel) and psychiatrist, Eve. Born into a mental institution, the Boy has felt such grief at the loss of his mother that he senses her essence is trapped – not quite in the world, not quite out of it – in a sort of purgatory which the Boy recognises as the Dark Chorus. Not many people can see these disembodied spirits, but the Boy knows it is his destiny to pluck his way past the others and rescue his mother’s soul.

Teaming up with other troubled teenagers, Makka and Vee, the Boy finds himself exacting vengeance on the truly wicked of this world and, in so doing, feeding the remnant of a fallen angel. But can he convince psychiatrist Eve that the world she used to see as a child was real? And will he ever find a vessel suitable to sustain his mother’s soul?

An incredible story, really well-told. The writing is lyrical, I highlighted so many passages, I might as well have lit up the whole book. That said, the subject matter is very heavy, dealing, as it does, with racism and child abuse, as well as all matters spiritual. Not a book for everyone, perhaps, but a really rewarding read for those who decide to do it anyway.