Laurel has escaped her childhood and the family history in poverty stricken DeLop, Alabama. She's married to David, has a daughter Shelby and lives a comfortable life in a gated community. The ghosts have stopped following her. Until one night, when she sees the ghost of a young girl beckoning to her. She looks out the window and there is the dead girl - in her pool.
Although they disagree strongly on many, many things, she calls on her actress sister Thalia to come and help her deal with this. As the sisters 'investigate', the past comes charging up behind them. Secrets long buried won't be kept quiet any longer.
This is an absolute gem of a novel. Jackson's prose are captivating and unsettling at the same time.
"But her house did not feel normal. It was silent and too large around her, as if it had been hollowed out. The wrongness in her yard had it's nose pressed against her glass doors, and she felt something small and feral scrabbling in her belly. Every time she thought she'd lose herself in her work, the something would run one spiky tooth along her stomach lining."
The story is addicting. Can she really see ghosts? Hints of the past are eked out and I was reading as quickly as I could to piece it altogether. It's a mystery, but also a study in families and relationships and how the past affects the present.
In the reading group guide and notes, the author notes that "at it's heart, this book is about poverty". I found this quite interesting. As well as the literal translation of fiscal poverty, emotional poverty plays a key role.
This was a fantastic read for me. You can read an excerpt of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming here.