Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Ghost

2007 brought us two new novels named Ghost one by Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams) and another by Robert Harris (Imperium). Both are worth a read, for very different reasons.

In Lightman's Ghost, a middle-aged bank employee unexpectedly loses his job and winds up working at a funeral home run by an simultaneously charismatic and agoraphobic mortican and his motley crew. Our hero has a ghostly vision which results in a battle between a group bent on validating supernatural experiences and the science department of the local university. Academics, beware! Some dead-on lampooning here. An intellectual and thought-provoking book.

Harris's The Ghost is a page-turner, political intrigue with a nice twist at the end. Former prime minister Adam Lange is having a devil of a time getting his memoirs written. His long-time friend and political ally was compiling and writing the tome, and nearly done, when he disappeared and turned up drowned. The narrator (never named, after all, he is a ghostwriter) gets the job. Never a dull moment with this politician, who is obviously patterned on Tony Blair, although I couldn't stop thinking of Bill and Hillary. A great book for an election year.


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