Seaward

Brad Leithauser, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (384p) ISBN 978-0-394-58587-1
The rational underpinnings of modern life collide with the inexplicable in this accomplished and intriguing story of an ordinary man who sees a ghost. Poet and novelist Leithauser ( Equal Distance ; Hence ) depicts Washington, D.C., communications attorney Terry Seward, a self-described ``solid'' individual who undergoes a watershed experience when he witnesses the spectral return of his wife Betsy, who drowned in an accident. A badly shaken Terry is forced to reassess his assumptions about both himself and his understanding of human existence. Relying on the friendships of two men, his pragmatic fellow attorney Adam Mikolajczak and his eccentric former Princeton roommate Curly Kopp, Terry grapples with various hypotheses to explain his paranormal experience and decide how to respond to it. Through this examination he gains new insight into his relationships with Adam and Curly, with his parents, sister, niece and even with the late Betsy. Leithauser fashions a compelling portrait of his protagonist, showing him from a variety of perspectives. Supporting characters, too, are rendered with convincing precision and color, and the carefully constructed narrative is quietly gripping throughout. More a meditation than a ghost story, Leithauser's tale avoids mystical cliches, focusing less on supernatural spectacle than on the greater miracles of quotidian existence. BOMC alternate. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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