What a wonderful story, both in atmosphere and style and plot. Atherton is definitely going on my shortlist of literary discoveries! I had never heard of her before this.
Even though I largely read stories that end badly or openly, it's wonderful for a change sometimes to read a story where everyone (yes, except the bishop) is nice to each other. The concept of "talking dead" is, as mentioned in the episode, also very well used by Neil Gaiman in his Graveyard Book, which has a playful, childlike atmosphere there. I myself was also reminded of Mussorgsky's 'vignette' Cum mortuis in lingua mortua (although according to the internet, that's not really about speaking dead people). I further agree with Glenn and Brandon that the story is an example avant garde magical realism, which may explain my enthusiasm for the story.
I hope to see more Atherton discussed on Elder Sign in the future.