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The Ghost in Love: A Novel Hardcover – September 30, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Death is not the end but rather the start of a series of madcap and sometimes moving adventures for characters in this spry novel about the un-afterlife. Events begin on a wintry day in Connecticut when Ben Gould slips and hits his head on a curb. He should have died, but owing to a virus in heaven's computer system, Ben's body lives on. Soon, Ben and others in his life—including his talking dog, Pilot, and his own ghost (named Ling)—find themselves endowed with extraordinary and unpredictable talents, including time traveling, the ability to hobnob with multiple incarnations of their younger selves, and a capacity to see otherwise invisible forces of fate manifested in bizarre physical forms. Carroll (Glass Soup) tethers the series of loopy incidents that ensues and their shaggy-dog explanation to incisive and poignant observations about the wondrous possibilities of everyday life that are the hallmark of his flippant style of fantasy. Carroll fans will best appreciate this jeu d'esprit. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Ben Gould was supposed to die, but he didn't, and now he can talk to his dog, Pilot, and Ling, the ghost that's been sent to take his soul to the afterlife. This perspective-changing novel, which follows Carroll's (www.jonathancarroll.com) The Wooden Sea, explores what can happen when we choose to take control of our own fate. Actor/two-time Audie Award nominee Ray Porter does a good job of drawing in listeners. Recommended for most public libraries. [Audio clip available through www.blackstoneaudio.com; the Farrar hc received a starred review, LJ 9/1/08.—Ed.]—Donna Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374161860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374161866
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a delight to find a new author. What's even better is finding out he's been writing for years and there are all of these undiscovered countries to explore. I dislike too much information in reviews and on book jackets. (And besides, you can find out as much as, or more than you want, from other reviews.) So let me just say that if you enjoy traveling with the likes of Kurt Vonnegut(Breakfast of Champions) Tom Robbins(on his mellow days, something like Jitterbug Perfume) or even Richard Bach (Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah) you may LOVE Jonathan Carroll. I think at the very least you will enjoy traveling with him in the world of THE GHOST IN LOVE.
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Format: Paperback
In the hands of a more facile writer, this could have been a phenomenal book. The story is imaginative and inventive, combining abstract concepts of Jung and turning them into concrete physical reality. Carroll is not a bad writer--he gets the job done, but with too much whimsy and not enough atmosphere. The story has a fluid arc and he ties loose ends together. However, there is no muscle to his prose and no heft to his characterizations. The story has a profound and powerful theme, but it bordered on sugary at times and left no room for moral ambiguity. A very creative story suffered from an uninspiring, mundane narrative and portrayal.

Ben Gould has a brush with death and survives, now accompanied by his ghost. The human struggle to become an integrated whole instead of just living on the surface of our thoughts and actions is universal. Jung identified the subconscious, the unconscious, and the conscious parts of our nature. He noted that unless we are enlightened to these aspects of ourselves, we tend to live narrowly on the surface, conscious state. But the underlying fears, feelings, and buried experiences impede us when we do not acknowledge them and deal with the complexities and contradictions that have accumulated. What Carroll does is make these mental states manifest in physical form in order that some of his characters can literally confront their conflicted, repressed, and suppressed "selves" and fully integrate into a whole, vital self. Ben's journey, which is initially circumspect, is a quest for wholeness. We are our own worst enemies! What a beautiful and humane concept for a story.

Ben's age is left out, as well as his personality. He hasn't allowed himself to blossom.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...and when you read this work of art, my title will make sense to you. ;)

To begin, this book is amazing. It's completely out of this world while taking place in modern day reality, if that's possible! Wildly inventive with enough regular life mixed in to make it perfect.

Its reminiscent of a couple of other things that I love and not in a copy cat kind of way. Johnathan Carroll has a similar writing style to Neil Gaiman, with a very whimsical prose and they're both beyond creative. At times it reminded me of The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger with the time travel and love aspects. Also of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the "what is going on?!" kind of feel, like you're totally just chasing yourself in circles. If any of these interest you, I think you'd love this book.

There was so much story in 308 pages, that it's impossible to categorize. I won't go over what it's about because it can be read in the Amazon description or in another review. I will say, it was much different then I expected from the short synopsis that I read. But don't mistake 'different' for bad. This book was enlightening, amazing, funny, and thought provoking. A lot of the time I found myself exclaiming outloud -- tons of "what?!?!" or "you've got to be kidding" coming out of my mouth without my realizing it until my boyfriend would ask from another room what was wrong. It had feelings of The Time Traveler's Wife in that a couple times I was just so entirely confused I had to put down the book and work it out in my head. Sometimes It was so close to over my head, but then I would be able to grasp it. Most of the time I can speed read thru books, but this one I wanted to savor, and I took my time with it, not reading more then 50 pages at a time.
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Format: Hardcover
I LOVE Jonathan Carroll's books. I love the crazy places his books take me, and the odd people I meet and the way he can be traveling down one path and then so subtly go a different way...while I am still happily going the original direction. When I finally catch on, it's still a delight to backtrack and join him on his new route.

I stumbled upon "A Ghost in Love" in Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, WA. Little did I know that one of my favorite writers had a new book out (well, I guess not THAT new), but Auntie's would be the place I would find it.

Somehow I held off and didn't start "Ghost" until days later when I was ready to sit down and bit off a big chunk, and then I fell into the world of Ben Gould and German Landis, and Pilot, their dog.

The reader is introduces to German in a perfect way, "Fifteen blocks away, a woman was walking down the street, carrying a large letter `D'." Of course she was. In a Jonathan Carroll book, of course she was. It is explained later, and everything ends up making sense, it's just a wonderful of making sure the reader is paying attention.

"A Ghost in Love" is about love and life and the choices people make in both. It deals with who people are at various stages in their lives and how later, all of those people and choices intersect. Instead of waxing philosophic about two such universal subjects, Carroll creates a world of ghosts, talking dogs and verses...and makes his points with a different slant to them.

"A Chinese farmer invented the idea of ghosts three thousand years ago as a way of explaining to his precious grandson what happens to people after they die.
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