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Billie's Ghost Paperback – October 26, 2004
From Publishers Weekly
Casey Cooper, who narrates this maudlin first novel, hasn't worked in the year since his wife, Virginia, died. He's been living off life insurance, savings and pity checks from his in-laws and has carved out a hermitic life: he sleeps most of the day, wakes up late and spends his nights sitting in his backyard by the pool, drinking beer and listening to jazz—mostly Billie Holiday. So imagine his surprise when a hard-drinking nomadic jazz singer who looks and sounds just like Billie Holiday and who calls herself Eleanora materializes in his spare bedroom one night. In short order, Eleanora has Casey out of the house—shopping, canoeing at a nature preserve (where Eleanora falls into the water but doesn't get wet) and, eventually, heading to Miami, where she rescues Casey from a mugger. When Casey isn't being acted upon or transfixed by Eleanora, he retreats into soft-focus memories of Virginia. The drama (such as it is) reaches its height after a small fire Eleanora accidentally starts in the spare bedroom leads to a nearly fatal case of smoke poisoning for Casey's cat, Mashed Potatoes. Eleanora breathes new life into the cat by singing to it. More a whimsical reflection on learning to deal with grief than a novel, this is an occasionally touching but generally lackluster first outing for Hautmann.
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"...hard to put down. South Florida provides perfect backdrop for the transformation that Casey undergoes, thanks to his mysterious visitor." -- Ray McNally, Bloomberg Radio, New York
"...quirky, stylishly written. Hautmann has conjured up a spirit so sweet, sassy and seductive, you'll want to believe." -- Hilary Winter, Times of Trenton
"...tightly written fast paced, engaging and very moving novel, a tribute to love, life and good jazz." -- Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader: A Haven for Book Lovers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
is kiss to a bygone era. Also brings up the question, do you believe in ghost? This is a book about how people deal with the
lost of a love one. Good book!
Suddenly out of nowhere Eleanora enters Casey's life singing with a voice and a look that make her an identical twin of Billie Holiday. No one else sees this enigmatic Eleanora with even Casey wondering if it is the bottle, his mental state, BILLIE'S GHOST or a real person? Still Casey does not care as Eleanora with the jazzy voice moves in with him. She provides him with a reason to rejoin the living as she boosts his self esteem.
This is a very simplistic yet deep tale that provides several messages to the audience to include accentuating the positive in relationships because though mankind imposes but God disposes without warning and grieving is exclusively a lone act. The three key players, Casey, his deceased wife, and Eleanora are cleverly designed to provide insight into how far someone can fall when a loved one is lost early and abruptly in life and that grieving and recover are customized within a powerful character study.