The In-Betweens: Book summary and reviews of The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin

The In-Betweens

The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna

by Mira Ptacin

The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin X
The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin
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About this book

Book Summary

A young writer travels to Maine to tell the unusual story of America's longest-running camp devoted to mysticism and the world beyond.

They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin's haunting account of the women of Camp Etna―an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they could speak to the dead, Ptacin reveals how Spiritualism first blossomed into a national practice during the Civil War, yet continues―even thrives―to this very day.

Immersing herself in this community and its practices―from ghost hunting to releasing trapped spirits to water witching― Ptacin sheds new light on our ongoing struggle with faith, uncertainty, and mortality. Blending memoir, ethnography, and investigative reportage, The In-Betweens offers a vital portrait of Camp Etna and its enduring hold on a modern culture that remains as starved for a deeper sense of connection and otherworldliness as ever.

25 black-and-white photographs


About the Author
The author of the acclaimed memoir Poor Your Soul, Mira Ptacin has written for NPR, Guernica, New York, Tin House, and Vice, among other publications. She teaches memoir-writing to women at the Maine Correctional Center and lives on Peaks Island, Maine.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The In-Betweens is a truly fascinating history of a little-known American community of Spiritualists. I'd never heard of Camp Etna before reading this book, and I can't imagine how I'd missed it. This is a story of a deeply female, fiercely autonomous, open-hearted and searching group of spiritual seekers, whose ranks have refused for well over a century to comply with any conventional ideas about religion, power, and women. Ptacin approaches her subjects with a mind that is both open and enthusiastic, without ever losing her keen reporter's edge. It's a brilliant work, and a fabulous read." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love

"Deft, immersive, and smart, The In-Betweens is a marvelous exploration of a lost bit of history as well as a journalist's deep dive into the idiosyncratic world of American Spiritualism. How lucky we are that Ptacin stumbled onto Camp Etna! The book is equal parts funny and strange and surreal, and entirely engaging." - Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book

The information about The In-Betweens shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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A young writer travels to Maine to tell the unusual story of America's longest-running camp devoted to mysticism and the world beyond.

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