Ghosts permeate (or maybe haunt) the entire book and, we might infer, Kingston's life. Foreigners, non-Chinese people, are represented in the book as ghosts. The book also has literal ghosts. They seem to be an embodiment of fear and things to overcome (like the Sitting Ghost). The idea of one's life as a big ghost story is pretty intense in the context of a book about sharing memories. How are we haunted by what has come before us, by stories others have told, and the relationship we have with others? If you're interested in reading more about ghosts, check out of discussion in "What's Up with the Title?"