Anyone reading Ghost yet?Â
Here are a few reviews to check out if you’re still thinking about whether or not to read it.
- New York Times Book Review. David finds an adoptive family at the funeral parlor, benevolently ruled by an agoraphobe named Martin. While working in the slumber room, where the embalmed go on view, David glimpses â€œsomethingâ€ â€” as maddeningly vague as it is undeniable. Against his will, the single weird encounter soon attracts media attention, the embrace of fringe enthusiasts and condemnation from men of science.
- San Francisco Chronicle.Â “I saw something,” he tells us on the novel’s first page. “I think I saw something impossible.” What he saw isn’t described in any sort of detail until very near the end of the novel. (“It was a thing near a dead body. A vapor. But more than a vapor.” Lightman’s novel, then, is a ghost story in which the ghost doesn’t very much matter. It exists so that people can argue about whether or not it exists.
- Book Page.Â For the most part, Lightman carefully avoids settingÂ GhostÂ in an identifiable time or place (some references, and most of the characters’ names suggest England, but terms like “high school” imply it is set here). This choice gives the story a nice timelessness. The opportunities are rife for exploring all kinds of theories and points of view, which Lightman does without allowing the narrative to flag. Indeed, the novel’s greatest strength is that it never squarely comes down on either side of the spiritual divide. Lightman, who himself professes atheism, has a respect for believers that translates into credible, sympathetic characterizations (if anyone is mercilessly lampooned, it is the non-believing academics). David has no philosophical bone to pick, and clearly neither does Lightman, which makesÂ GhostÂ a thought-provoking novel of ideas that allows us to make up our own mindsâ€”assuming we can set aside our own pesky preconceptions.Â
- And, finally, an Interview with Alan Lightman on Literary Traveler. Like my other books, [Ghost is] something thatâ€™s been brewing in me for years. Itâ€™s about a man who sees a ghost â€“ or he thinks he sees a ghost â€“ he sees something that he doesnâ€™t understand. He doesnâ€™t know exactly whether itâ€™s a ghost, but he sees something thatâ€™s definitely supernatural. He believes that he sees this, and it throws his world upside down. Because he doesnâ€™t believe in ghosts; he doesnâ€™t believe in the supernatural, and yet he has this metaphysical experience. And it makes him question the world, everything he knows, question himself. And all his relationships change as a result of this metaphysical experience; his relationship with his girlfriend, with his ex-wife. And the book explores the dividing line between the supernatural world and the sort of scientific world â€“ skepticism and faith, religion and science. Those dichotomies are explored in the book.