Giving ghost tours on the decaying streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter isn't exactly a high-profile career, but the guides at Spirits of Yore Haunted Tours are way too broken to do anything else. An aging man who believes he’s a vampire, a runaway trans girl, a former member of the Black Panthers mourning the death of his wife: these are a few of the ten tour guides in this rich and unconventional world. In the days leading up to Mardi Gras we follow them on their tours, through their benders, and into the complex depths of their humanity. Through the ghost stories they tell, their own haunted lives and relationships come into focus.
A character-driven "novel in stories" with a heavy dash of magical realism, ASH TUESDAY follows ten ghost-tour guides in the ten days leading up to Mardi Gras. Each chapter follows one tour guide through a day, culminating in his or her ghost tour. The stories the guides tell are straight from New Orleans' 300 year old canon of folklore, featuring ghosts, vampires, witches and lost souls. But these stories are more than just cheap entertainment; they paint a picture of a city as brilliant, decadent and decaying as the guides who tell them.
Steeped in the South’s deep history of magical realism and folklore, ASH TUESDAY is a love letter to New Orleans. It shares the braided narrative, shifting-POV style of A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD and the darkly funny, yearning themes of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, with an inevitable dash of roaches-on-the-wall, chicory-on-the-stove Tennessee Williams. Fittingly, a chapter of ASH TUESDAY was recently announced as a finalist for the 2020 Tennessee Williams Festival’s “Saints and Sinners” short fiction contest.
By turns funny and heartbreaking, ASH TUESDAY is a deep dive into the joys and sorrows of lives lived outside the mainstream. A novel rooted in place, ASH TUESDAY is also a love letter to New Orleans, America's "last true bohemia."
Ariadne is currently seeking representation for ASH TUESDAY. If interested, please get in touch via the Contact page.
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