The Ghost Clause

Howard Norman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-98729-6
Norman (My Darling Detective) poignantly examines the trajectory of two marriages from the viewpoint of a dead writer. Recently deceased Simon Inescort haunts his Vermont farmhouse, which is purchased in the summer of 1994 by a young couple: Muriel, an English professor who just finished her dissertation on a Japanese poet, and her husband, Zachary, a private investigator looking into a local missing child case. Simon, surprised by his consciousness and corporeal abilities (he can pick up books and read them, for example) writes journals he hopes the couple will find, a commentary on their lives as he observes them, as well as a primer on life with his artist widow, Lorca, who befriends the couple. Simon constantly sets off the house alarm, but when the new owners check for evidence, they find nothing—though their cat, Epilogue, is onto him. Readers learn that Simon and Lorca were desperate to have a child but couldn’t, which strained their relationship; Zachary’s obsession with finding 10-year-old Corrine (an autistic savant obsessed with moths) overrides his marriage. Throughout, Simon infuses sharp observations with insightful ruminations about the joys of living, which are particularly heartrending coming from one who can no longer experience them. This is an astute, beautifully written novel. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/24/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-09-400558-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-09-400557-7
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-358-30562-0
Library Binding - 325 pages - 978-1-4328-6737-9
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