“Surreal, darkly hilarious and profound.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Ghost Lights stars an IRS bureaucrat named Hal—a man baffled by his wife’s obsession with her young employer, T., and haunted by the accident that paralyzed his daughter, Casey. In a moment of drunken heroism, Hal embarks on a quest to find T.—the protagonist of Lydia Millet’s much-lauded novel How the Dead Dream—who has vanished in a jungle. On his trip to Central America, Hal embroils himself in a surreal tropical adventure, descending into strange and unpredictable terrain (and an unexpected affair with a beguiling German woman).
Ghost Lights is Millet at her best—beautifully written, engaging, full of dead-on insights into the heartbreaking devotion of parenthood and the charismatic oddity of human behavior. The book draws us into a darkly humorous, sometimes off-kilter world where bonds of affection remain a reliable magnetic north. Ghost Lights is a startling, comic, and surprisingly philosophical story.
- November 2012
- 5.5 × 8.3 in
/ 256 pages
- Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“Richly imagined.” — Vanity Fair
“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
“Millet… skillfully interweaves the personal and the political, making Hal’s journey both specific and universal.” — Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Library Journal
“...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 Stewart Whole Living
“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
Also by Lydia Millet