The Grave Listeners | Critical Book Review

Erin Britton delves into the intriguing realm of William Frank’s debut novel, The Grave Listeners, where the fusion of paranormal fantasy and historical fiction sparks a captivating narrative.


The Last of a Dying Breed: Volushka’s Odyssey

Volushka, the reluctant protagonist, embodies the complexities of a grave listener in a world where superstition reigns supreme over scientific understanding. While the villagers begrudgingly employ him, he navigates a delicate balance between his noble calling and his inherent laziness, leading to disastrous consequences.


Marcabrusa’s Mysterious Arrival: A Plague of Suspicion

The narrative takes a twist with the arrival of the enigmatic Marcabrusa, a charming and ambitious stranger seeking to usurp Volushka’s role as the village’s official grave listener. As untimely demises surge, Volushka suspects a nefarious connection and sets out to expose Marcabrusa’s villainous agenda, triggering a clash between the supernatural and the mundane.


A Grave Listener’s Quandary: Balancing Act or Farce?

Frank’s narrative skillfully weaves a unique premise, unraveling the motivations behind Volushka’s desire to maintain his peculiar profession. However, the disparity between his boasting of paranormal encounters and the mundane reality leaves readers contemplating the authenticity of his beliefs. The withholding of the non-normal aspects adds an element of mystery but might leave some craving a deeper exploration.


Banter, Humor, and Enigmatic Antagonists: A Closer Look

The dynamic banter between Marcabrusa and Volushka, interspersed with the hilarious outbursts of 5-year-old Benzi, provides moments of levity. Yet, Marcabrusa’s intermittent absence and underdevelopment leave a desire for more depth in exploring his character and role as the clear antagonist in the tale.


Richly Detailed World: The Village of Strangeness

Set in an unspecified time and place, the vividly detailed world-building immerses readers in the peculiar atmosphere of the village. The strange practices and norms, coupled with unexplained deaths and supernatural lore, create a surreal yet authentic backdrop.


The Verdict: A Grave Balance of Humor and Macabre

In conclusion, The Grave Listeners is a fast-paced and imaginative narrative that masterfully intertwines earthy humor with macabre elements of paranormal mythology. Frank’s storytelling prowess results in an entertaining read, leaving readers grappling with the fine line between a grave listener’s duty and the whimsicality of the supernatural world.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN:

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Tuckford Bunny PressLiterary Fiction / Historical144 pages9798987782408

Erin Britton delves into the intriguing realm of William Frank’s debut novel, The Grave Listeners, where the fusion of paranormal fantasy and historical fiction sparks a captivating narrative. The Last of a Dying Breed: Volushka’s Odyssey Volushka, the reluctant protagonist, embodies the complexities of a grave listener in a world where superstition reigns supreme over…