Green Glass Ghosts
Rae Spoon, illustrated by Gem Hall
At age 19 in the year 2000, the queer narrator of Green Glass Ghosts steps off a bus on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, a city where the faceless condo towers of the wealthy loom over the streets to of the east side where folks are just trying to get by, against the deceptively beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains and sparkling ocean.
Armed with only their guitar and their voice, our hopeful hero arrives on the West Coast at the beginning of the new millennium and on the cusp of adulthood, fleeing a traumatic childhood in an unsafe family plagued by religious extremism, mental health crises, and abuse in a conservative city not known for accepting difference. They're eager to build a better life among like-minded folks, and before they know it, they've got a job, an apartment, openly non-binary friends, and a new queer love, dancing, busking, and making out in bars, parks, art spaces, and apartments.
But their search for belonging and stability is disrupted by excessive drinking, jealousy, and painful memories of the past, distracting the protagonist from their ultimate goal of playing live music and spurring them to an emotional crisis. If they can't learn to care for themselves, how will they ever find true connection and community?
The illustrations by Gem Hall conjure the moody, misty urban landscape and represent a deep collaboration with the author based on their shared experience of seeking safety, authenticity, and acceptance on the West Coast. Green Glass Ghosts is an evocation of that delicate, aching moment between youth and adulthood when we are trying, and often failing, to become the person we dream ourselves to be. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)
Rae Spoon is a non-binary musician, producer and author from Calgary, who currently lives in Victoria. Their other books include First Spring Grass Fire and Gender Failure, which was co-written with Ivan Coyote.
Gem Hall is an interdisciplinary artist currently based on Coast Salish lands.