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Ghost Lights: A Novel Hardcover – October 24, 2011
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“In Lydia Millet's brilliant new novel, a skeptical tax man follows a runaway millionaire to Latin America.
Can it be a coincidence that this year ― when the issue of taxes has become an abyss that both divides and conquers our national government ― we also have two new books about IRS workers by important novelists of ideas? The first, of course, is David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published The Pale King.... The second is Lydia Millet’s new novel, Ghost Lights....
...Millet is seldom compared to J.M Coetzee, who seems an obvious and fruitful influence on...Ghost Lights.... Their prose has a similar, lovely stillness, and both portray characters nudged beyond typical human navel-gazing....” (Laura Miller - Salon.com)
“Millet is a gifted writer, often dropping droll and sardonic throw-away lines of surprisingly smart humor.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Millet… skillfully interweaves the personal and the political, making Hal’s journey both specific and universal.” (Christine DeZelar-Tiedman - Library Journal)
“Millet is that rare writer of ideas who can turn a ruminative passage into something deeply personal. She can also be wickedly funny, most often at the expense of the unexamined life.” (Tricia Springstubb - Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“...surreal, darkly hilarious and profound… With its linguistic and plot pranks and underlying moral complexity, Ghost Lights recalls the laconic, Lacanian novels of Paul Auster. Like Auster, Millet presents a disoriented postmodern hero who becomes a willing but only marginally competent detective in a mystery that requires a series of absurd divagations leading to a life-changing or life-threatening existential inquiry.” (Carolyn Cooke - San Francisco Chronicle)
“[A] whip-smart, funny novel…. A yarn about marriage, fatherhood, and idealism, its every page idiosyncratically entertaining, amusing, and insightful. Millet proves she might have Jonathan Franzen beat at expertly mixing the political and domestic.” (Martha Steward Whole Living)
“At her best [Millet] exhibits the sweep and Pop-Art lyricism of Don DeLillo, the satiric acerbity of Kurt Vonnegut, the everyday-cum-surrealism harmonics of Haruki Murakami, and the muted-moral outrage of Joy Williams… Strange, alternately quirky, and profound… Millet is operating at a high level in Ghost Lights, and the book provides a fascinating glimpse of what can happen if the self’s rhythms and certainties are shaken. We should be grateful that such an interesting writer has turned her attention to this rich, terrifying subject.” (Josh Emmons - New York Times Book Review)
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Top Customer Reviews
The only writer I can think of that reminds me of Millet is Paul Auster, with his postmodern, darkly comic and surreal novels of characters earnestly struggling, and yet with an absurd haplessness, too, to comprehend their lives. They suffer from disorienting delusions, so that their self-directed journeys are fevered with mortifications. Millet is somewhat quirkier, even, and without the assembled, careful structure of Auster. She is less antiseptic than Auster, with an undertone of gallows humor.
After Hal comes to the conclusion that Susan is having an affair with her preppy office paralegal, he decides to play the potential hero, offering to travel to Belize to find T. Stern, who has been missing since he went on a boat trip with a guide up the Monkey River. Several issues plague Hal, besides Susan's affair. First, he feels like he is responsible for forcing Susan to suppress her bohemian, free-love spirit that she possessed when they first met in the 60's (it is now 1994, dated by the death of Kurt Cobain).Read more ›
Yes the book demands that you slow down and read each sentence more carefully than you might normally do, but what rewards await your diligence! This was a feast and I enjoyed every minute...I laughed out loud on the airplane when I started it, because Hal's insight is wicked funny, and later got up in the middle of the night to finish it...I just had to know where it was going, and I was sorry to have to put it down in the end.
For me it was a relief to come across a read like this, original, revealing, stimulating, challenging, funny...if you like to push up against the boundaries of your comfort zone, and end up feeling like you just went somewhere profound in your armchair then this might be a good one for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book a lot. Engaging characters and clever storyline.Published 10 months ago by mark0
Ever meet one of those mediocre people that never risk anything, but are cynical of everyone else that does? Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rod Raglin
Lydia Millet always amazes me anew with her fantastic prose. This trilogy kept me riveted.Published 17 months ago by Kindle Customer
In Lydia's Millet's last novel, How the Dead Dream, we leave the protagonist, T, lost in a jungle in Belize, quite possibly dead. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by Brian d'Eon
I enjoyed this story and Millet's excellent writing. There was enough ambiguity in the characters to keep me guessing, and Millet has some interesting and humorous takes on the... Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by Daniel Holland
Highly readable with no gripping passages. Descriptions not original. Ending left me wanting a more satisfying resolution.
Good beach read for next summerr
This is the 2nd novel of Millett's I have read. I did enjoy this one more, for awhile, than the other one, but......somewhere along the was she loses me. Read morePublished on June 12, 2012 by S. Struhall
When asked about her close brush with the Pulitzer Prize at the Tucson Festival of Books, Lydia Millet was ironic and self-effacing. Read morePublished on April 4, 2012 by Jessica Knauss, Author
This sequel, and a second in a trilogy, surpasses the first volume while featuring a minor character in the first book who tracks down the trilogy's main figure in a tropical... Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by Jonathan A. Weiss