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Ghost Lover

Ghost Lover

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Table of Contents

  • Rave and Reviews

About The Book

About the author.

Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo is the author of the #1  New York Times  bestseller  Three Women , which she is adapting as a dramatic series at Showtime, and the novel  Animal . She has contributed to  The   New York Times ,  New York magazine,  Esquire ,  Elle ,  Glamour , and many other publications. Her nonfiction has been included in the  Best American Sports Writing  and  Best American Political Writing  anthologies, and her short stories have won two Pushcart Prizes. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster (June 13, 2023)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982122195

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Raves and Reviews

“Lisa Taddeo’s work is addictive. Once you start reading, you (legally) cannot stop. You’ll find yourself flipping through the crisp pages of her books late into the night, devouring the inner psyches of her haunting, irresistible female leads. . . .Taddeo’s prose speaks to the seedy core of us, capturing the experience of being a woman in a world that hates women, but simultaneously loves to fuck them, both literally and in the abstract.” — Esquire “ Ghost Lover feels built to provoke—and it’s provocative. It pricks and prods you with its unrelenting focus on the many ways inhabiting a certain type of female body can ruin a life. . . . You might not know anyone like these women, but chances are that every woman you know holds at least a little bit of these women inside of them.” — Los Angeles Times “In Ghost Lover , Lisa Taddeo’s new collection of short stories, this world [of female desire] is illuminated, unpacked, and ultimately, understood. Across nine stories, Taddeo’s prose cuts like a knife—sharp, visceral, and dripping with ugly truths. She understands the grueling nature of the female psyche with an almost painful precision.” — Nylon “Raw and searching . . . Lisa Taddeo returns with more ruthless explorations of the feminine mystique in Ghost Lover .” — Entertainment Weekly , “The Best New Books of June 2022” “Readers of Taddeo’s nonfiction debut, Three Women (2019), and first novel, Animal (2021), will feel at home with the cast of women who haunt her first short-story collection: powerful, incisive, deep-feeling people who chase sex and love, often as they run from trauma and other hurts. . . . In Taddeo’s tantalizing stories . . . death seeps in through the cracks, but so does lightness, humor, and a kind of freedom.” — Booklist “I’ll read anything Lisa Taddeo ever writes. . . . The tales in Ghost Lover don’t disappoint. . . . These nine tales give us just the right dose of Lisa’s brilliant voice.” — Zibby Owens, Good Morning America, “15 New Books to Add to Your Reading List for June" “The nine stories in this collection, two of which have won Pushcarts, are dark and spooky explorations of anonymity, connection, shame, and passion. Reading it is an out-of-body experience.” — LitHub “Ragingly funny with pointed descriptions and keen, sometimes devastating, observations about women and love and sex.” — Toronto Star “Lisa Taddeo, a Pushcart Prize winner and the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of Three Women , is back with an engrossing collection of short stories. . . . In Ghost Lover , Taddeo’s talent and knack for storytelling will certainly have readers itching for more than nine stories.” —Shondaland

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Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo: A mixed bag of short stories

Book review: too many of the author’s female characters think the same way.

ghost lover summary

Ghost Lover is Lisa Taddeo’s first short story collection. Photograph: Molly Matalon/The New York Times

The journalist and writer Lisa Taddeo had a huge hit in 2019 with Three Women, a creative non-fiction book about female desire in contemporary America. A number one bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, the book is being adapted for Showtime. Last year Taddeo published her debut novel Animals, to mixed reviews, and follows it with her first short story collection, the fittingly titled Ghost Lover.

Seven of the nine stories have already been published, in publications ranging from McSweeney’s to Granta. Two have won a Pushcart Prize. A number of other accolades are also listed in the press material, including the Andrew Lytle Prize for the best short story published in 2018.

While some of the stories engage, as a whole the collection is a mixed bag. The primary issue is one of repetition, in style, theme, character and authorial voice. Some stories – the poignant Maid Marian, the powerful A Suburban Weekend – come close to greatness, tautly written tales of loss and unlikely redemption. Others are pale imitations, ghostly approximations of superior bedfellows. This kind of layering worked for Taddeo in Three Women (though she was criticised for the homogeneity of her subjects), but it is harder to pull off in a collection. The short story form is unforgiving. There is nowhere to hide.

At its best, the collection has shades of Mary Gaitskill, that great chronicler of the politics and psychology of desire in American society. Thematically there are similarities: debasement, boredom, desperation, longing. Recurring preoccupations in Ghost Lover include heartbreak, the callousness of online dating, inequality between the sexes – how it worsens with age – the rivalries of female friendships, dead fathers, the sexual abuse of minors by stepfather figures. On a sentence level, Taddeo’s collection is closer to her contemporaries, newer writers such as Kristen Roupenian and Lauren Holmes. All three have penned sharp, shocking stories about modern dating culture, the delights and degradations of that world.

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Taddeo knows how to write a killer sentence, full of ambiguity. She is particularly good on outsiders in relationships, the bit players – mistresses, lovers, exes who can’t quite let go. In the titular Ghost Story a successful businesswoman Ari pines for her ex: “Like someone who might take care of you forever, if you were open to denial.” In the mordant Forty-Two: “The day of a wedding is always about three people. The groom, the bride, and the person most unrequitedly in love with the groom or the bride.”

Frequently, however, she pushes things too far. A good metaphor should defamiliarise and then immediately connect – think of the masterful prose of Anne Enright – but if it doesn’t, the result can be puzzling or odd. Across the collection: “Her hip bone is a seatbelt … The moon is a bone in the shape of a hole … the information waggled her belly and chopped up her guts into the blunt mince of the sweetbreads she orders at Gramercy Tavern.” And in first prize: “Beauty never went out of style in the vacuum of the penis.”

The larger issue over the nine stories is that too many of the female characters think the same way, which is, we come to suspect, reflective of how the author thinks, diegesis as opposed to mimesis. It is, at the very least, reflective of a type of woman she wishes to portray, namely superficially minded, obsessed with looks, weight, jealous of younger, prettier females who may steal her limelight, or indeed her man.

Here’s the opening of Beautiful People: “When she heard that the Bosnian model with the tangled hair and the blue eyes died—heroin, Miami—Jane smiled … One less beautiful girl.” The initial pages of nearly every story contain some variation of this. “She wasn’t exactly beautiful,” says the narrator of Padua, 1966, when relating the story of a mother who chose to leave her husband and child. In Air Supply a woman recounts a seminal holiday: “When I was eighteen I took a trip with my friend Sara to Puerto Rico. Sara was—and still is—prettier than me, in a slutty 1990s kind of way.” At times Taddeo can be scathing of these women but not enough to establish an ironic distance between author and character.

With the closing story, A Suburban Weekend , we fear we are in similar territory: “Fern and Liv were always trying to decide who was prettier, hotter.” But what actually unfolds is a moving meditation on loss and the power of friendship to sustain through the hardest of times. Structurally tight and with moments of stunning resonance, it showcases Taddeo at her best: “She passed the antique mirror on the wall, which as a child she thought could reflect the demons in her soul. Now it said twenty-five dollars or best offer.”

Sarah Gilmartin

Sarah Gilmartin

Sarah Gilmartin is a contributor to The Irish Times focusing on books and the wider arts

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Lisa Taddeo Is Saying The Quiet Parts Out Loud

The author of Ghost Lover explains why stories can't turn away from challenging themes.

lisa taddeo

Every product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. We may earn a commission from these links.

Lisa Taddeo’s work is addictive. Once you start reading, you (legally) cannot stop. You’ll find yourself flipping through the crisp pages of her books late into the night, devouring the inner psyches of her haunting, irresistible female leads—both fictitious, like in Animal , and adapted from journalistic pursuits, like the New York Times bestseller Three Women .

Taddeo’s prose speaks to the seedy core of us, capturing the experience of being a woman in a world that hates women, but simultaneously loves to fuck them, both literally and in the abstract. And for fans hungry for more from the author, there’s news: a collection of Taddeo’s selected short stories, Ghost Lover , has just landed. The anthology includes previously published works like the dark, sexually charged friendship romp “Suburban Weekend,” as well as a meditation on aging and women’s social capital, “Forty Two.” You’ll also find exciting new stories like the titular work, “Ghost Lover,” which employs a striking second-person framework to narrate the thoughts of a woman who creates a dating app where hot girls craft indifferent messages to men on your behalf.

Ultimately, if you’re won over by gorgeous sentences and fiction so true to your experience it feels real, there’s something for you in Taddeo’s work—particularly this collection examining a breadth of characters, all connected by Taddeo’s talent for capturing the heterosexual female psyche at its best and its grueling, unspeakable worst. Speaking by Zoom after a morning on set (the rights of both Animal and Three Women were acquired by MGM for adaptation), Taddeo spoke with Esquire to discuss Ghost Lover in depth. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Esquire: A theme of this collection is women trying to control their own bodies by manipulating them through starvation, over-exercise, dieting, and the like. Your characters’ desire for thinness seems to be tied to attracting men. Is writing about the lengths women go to in order to manipulate their bodies intentional for you? Or rather, as a woman yourself, is writing about this catharsis?

Lisa Taddeo: It's a bit of both. We're living under this patriarchal hangover right now. Something I said in Three Women is that heterosexual women look at each other the way that a man does. A lot of our gaze is still the male gaze. I came of age in the 80s when there wasn't social media. There was no Instagram. But all the books and stories that we read told us that beauty was a commodity. One of the reasons I write a lot about looks and the way that women feel about the way they look is because it's what we all talk about.

Ghost Lover

Ghost Lover

Someone just asked me what advice I would give to young women, and I have tons of advice. But I also said that I would like to ask them for advice, because I think that younger generations are so much more self-aware of where their value lies. There's a lot of ageism in Ghost Lover , and there's a lot of material about the way that we look. I think we have been raised to believe beauty is one of our largest commodities, and when we go out into the world, it is reinforced in so many ways. It's so infuriating to me that there's no control of it. The only way that I can control it is to write about it. My generation and beyond, there's a cattiness there. I think the younger generations don’t do it as much. It's self-sabotage, and we use our own strengths against each other.

ESQ: It’s interesting to hear you say that the younger generation doesn't pick each other’s physical appearance and sex appeal apart. It’s a faux pas to do so, but it's still done. Maybe you're not going to voice it, but I feel really seen in these pages, because I'm like, "Oh thank God, I'm not like a bitch for thinking this way."

LT: I'm so grateful to hear you say that, because I think we can feel like bitches. Whenever I'm like, “Oh my god, I look terrible, and then there's 75 other women going, 'No, you're beautiful!'” It's like okay, thank you. But there's something to be said for allowing someone to say out loud, “I am feeling unattractive.” It doesn't make you a non-feminist. I think it makes you a non-feminist to excoriate another woman for having a feeling that she wants to communicate.

ESQ: I think Ghost Love r is a deeply feminist work. It would be a misreading to think that you're promoting negative thought processes or actions. You're shedding light, which is important.

LT: I knew there was a potential for misreading. I think that the same thing is true of whenever there's violence toward women on television or in movies. There's this whole, “Oh, we can't show that” instinct. If we don't show it, we're not making it not happen. We're just quieting that thing and making people who it has happened to feel like they're the only ones. That's how I look at everything I write.

ESQ: You capture the essence of U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, and many other parts of the world so beautifully. How do you decide where a story’s setting will be? What does setting mean to you, seeing as you’ve traveled so much?

LT: Setting is so wildly important to me. Whenever I think of love stories that I've had, or obsessions I've had, the place has been so important. It just sticks with you, like the first bar where you meet the guy that you get obsessed with. Whenever and whatever the place is, it lives in you. Now that I'm married, when I visit new places, I’m not having any of those new love experiences. I'm just having fights or calm emotional safety with my husband and kid.

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster Animal

Animal

When I was in LA, it was very difficult for me, and also so beautiful and unknowable and mysterious. I wanted to know more about it. I say to my husband every time we go to New York, “New York is over.” He hates when I say that, because all he wants to do is go back there. For me, I feel like I excavated New York for myself. I went to every bar, I went to every restaurant, I looked for love around every single street corner. It holds so much of those feelings and emotions for me. New York is always going to be the big one.

When I say New York is over, I don't actually mean it. I’m just trying to get my husband to not want to move back there. It's weird because New York is both the epicenter of the universe and also not. Having traveled so much, I feel like no matter where you are, you're still coming back to yourself. Moving around to different places gives you different experiences. I think that if I'd stayed in New York the whole time, I wouldn't have gotten out of my career what I got out of it.

I was constantly like, “Should I leave? Should I stay?” And every time someone left, it was like “Why would you leave New York?” It’s crazy, because you can do whatever you want. I mean, obviously I don't know what your restrictions are, familial and otherwise, but one can technically do what they want. And that is a scary, scary notion.

ESQ: The juxtaposition of women at the beginning of adulthood versus those enmeshed in adulthood is so clear in your writing. Many of your stories follow women who are hyper aware of their youth and attractiveness, as well as those who are mourning the loss of youth. What makes you write about the perceived competition between younger and older women?

LT: I grew up with a mom whose main commodity was her beauty. She was the most beautiful in her family and the most beautiful woman in her town. Her beauty was the incredibly objective kind, very much like Sophia Loren. Men always looked at her on the street. A cornerstone would be watching my mom, watching other people watch her, and going “Wow, that's what beauty does.” When she started getting older, she would talk about losing her looks and feeling very upset about that. She would call herself vain and say, “I hate that I feel this way.” Her growing insecurities as she got older made me very sad.

For me, I've never felt that way about myself. If I lose my ability to write, that's my commodity, that's what I feel that I'm good at. If I lost that, or if age was taking that away from me, it would make me feel awful. My mother's commodity was her looks. I don’t think we should judge. This is mine, that’s hers.

.css-f6drgc:before{margin:-0.99rem auto 0 -1.33rem;left:50%;width:2.1875rem;border:0.3125rem solid #FF3A30;height:2.1875rem;content:'';display:block;position:absolute;border-radius:100%;} .css-1aglugu{font-family:Lausanne,Lausanne-fallback,Lausanne-roboto,Lausanne-local,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:1.625rem;line-height:1.2;margin:0rem;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1aglugu{font-size:1.75rem;line-height:1.2;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1aglugu{font-size:2.375rem;line-height:1.2;}}.css-1aglugu b,.css-1aglugu strong{font-family:inherit;font-weight:bold;}.css-1aglugu em,.css-1aglugu i{font-style:italic;font-family:inherit;}.css-1aglugu:before{content:'"';display:block;padding:0.3125rem 0.875rem 0 0;font-size:3.5rem;line-height:0.8;font-style:italic;font-family:Lausanne,Lausanne-fallback,Lausanne-styleitalic-roboto,Lausanne-styleitalic-local,Arial,sans-serif;} There's nothing more exciting to me than having younger friends or older friends.

When I was 24 or 25, I went to the Kentucky Derby to cover it for a story. I remember walking by a couple eating steak. I just took the man’s fork and put it into a piece of steak, then put it in my mouth. Then I put the fork down and I kept walking. Not drunk, just testing what I could do. I'm now on the flip side of that. There was a young waitress the other night with me and my husband, and she was being flirtatious. I was just like, “Oh my God. I was there. Now I'm here.” And that's the thing I'm interested in in my writing. We are all going to be there.

When we’re young, we act like we're never going to get old, and when we're old, we act like we were never young. That, to me, is the big misfortune. We are removing the potential and the great hope of having intergenerational friendships with each other by doing that. There's nothing more exciting to me than having younger friends or older friends.

ESQ: Two of these stories focus on dating apps and how people rely on them to weed out the messiness of dating, as well as the pitfalls in the very premise of many dating apps. What do dating apps say about our patience for modern dating?

LT: After my parents died, I was very sad. I didn't want to go out. I wanted to find someone, but I wanted to do it while I was inside my house, so I was on Match.com. I wanted to find someone who was going to love me and care for me because I was this wounded dying animal.

I didn't really find anything too exciting, but I remember the excitement of going, “Oh, maybe on page 27 is where I’ll find the guy that's going to be perfect.” There was just something about clicking into the wee hours of the evening and feeling like I could look, instead of being looked at. Post-marriage, I went on to Bumble because my brother had recently separated from his wife and was in a really bad place. I made a profile for him and I responded to the women that wrote to him. I was batting 1000. I was like, “Oh my god. I'm married to a man, but someone should have told me I could get any woman.” It would just be me and this woman talking about Elena Ferrante.

full frontal with samantha bee fyc event

ESQ: Close female friendships are so essential to our survival, though they are also some of the more grueling connections in our lives. You capture them so well: all the points of contention, the hurt feelings that go unaddressed, the passive aggression, the resentment. What makes you want to write about these dynamics?

LT: We are currently still best friends, but I had a very close female friendship that, when I met my husband, exploded because of hurt feelings. We were single together and we were also so attached to one another. We were always going out to meet people and also hanging out with each other, fully excited to be in one another's company.

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster Three Women

Three Women

When that friendship took a timeout, it was really awful for both of us and left a mark on me. I think what that experience taught me is to be super honest going into a friendship with a woman. We do the same things with non-platonic love. We show our best selves, right? So what I do now with female friends is I tell them upfront, “Hey, here's my list. It's my top ten list of faults and things that I will do. I will have panic attacks and I will not be able to go out one night because I'm thinking that I'm going to die.”

With a friendship with a woman, if they find out something about you that they don't feel like they knew the whole time, it's almost more of a betrayal. I think female friendship is so beautiful and haunted at the same time. I could just think and write about it forever.

ESQ: You’ve said that you prefer the short story structure to novels. What do you love about the short story format, and what are your hopes for this collection?

LT: I have always loved short stories since I was a kid. I don’t know why more people don’t read them. What I love about the form is that you have the ability to create a world very quickly. A really good sentence is so important to me. All of the people I admire write the most beautiful sentences. In a short story, you have more time to do that. In a novel there's less space. There needs to be more space for plot. In a short story, it's compact, and you can say more.

I think about my daughter, and I think about what it's going to look like out there. I don't know if she's going to be gay or straight or what, but for me, it's like “Here's a primer. Here is what I've been through and seen, so that if you see some of these things, you won't go, ‘Oh fuck.’ You might go ‘Oh, okay. I've heard about this before. Thanks, mom.’”

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Women behaving badly: Ghost Lover, by Lisa Taddeo, reviewed

Short stories feature women damaged by unhappy relationships seeking to numb their sorrows through casual sex.

  • From magazine issue: 11 June 2022

ghost lover summary

Leyla Sanai

ghost lover summary

Ghost Lover

Lisa Taddeo

Bloomsbury Circus, pp. 240, £16

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women established her as a narrator of female desire in all its complexity. Her study of three real women and their sexual choices became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, showing how women sometimes collude in relationships that are destructive, or make decisions they later regret. Power imbalance, coercion and past trauma as well as lust were distilled in the essence of their desires.

Of course, sexual relationships can be complex for both sexes, but Taddeo’s project repudiated the easy 1990s stereotypes of ‘ladettes’ as being replicas of sex-without-ties lads. Animal, her fiction follow-up, depicted the raw anger and vengeance that loss and frustration may beget.

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ghost lover summary

Ghost Lover is largely made up of stories previously published in American magazines. Some of the women in them have echoes of Taddeo herself in that they have lost a beloved Italian-American father young, then their mother. Several seek anaesthesia of the soul in casual sex. Once again, these women are complicit in the bad behaviour of men who subsequently damage them more. They tend to judge themselves not on intelligence or kindness but on slimness and beauty, so it’s difficult to find here the loving, nurturing female friendships that most real women hold dear. The barbed wire of competitiveness and critical ties cut the flesh, and the women seek to numb the pain with more rollercoaster sex.

The stories will chime, albeit uneasily, with those who have had bruising encounters with disingenuous, exploitative men and fremenies. Obsession, social-media stalking and mistaking sex for love are all sadly present in modern dating.

In ‘The One and Only’, angry, wealthy Ari exerts control in the only way she can: through small acts of sadism towards women she envies. But she has been the victim of abuse as a child; although the ‘Ghost Lover’ of the book’s title is a coquettish, coy app she has devised, it’s also the fear that’s always with her. Taddeo doesn’t justify Ari’s behaviour but demonstrates Auden’s aphorism: ‘Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.’

There are a few inaccuracies: it’s poly-cystics whose hormones predispose to plumpness, not endometriotics, while ‘herpetic’ doesn’t work to describe a fever. And occasionally the sardonic wisecracks create a barrier to accessing true emotion. But these are devastating stories of women’s pain, loss and compensatory behaviour. Taddeo is the 21st century’s more excoriating Edna O’Brien.

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ghost lover summary

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Review: Author Lisa Taddeo’s parade of women who want to be wanted

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On the Shelf

'Ghost Lover: Stories'

By Lisa Taddeo Avid Reader: 240 pages, $27 If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from Bookshop.org , whose fees support independent bookstores.

Lisa Taddeo has a type. Both her bestselling nonfiction project “ Three Women ” and her 2021 novel “Animal” explored the dangers and the thrills, the violence and the ache of a specific shade of sexual desire. Her new story collection, “ Ghost Lover, ” is populated similarly by women who want most of all to be wanted, mostly by men, though what they want even more is for the women around them to be jealous of how much they’re wanted by men.

In the story “American Girl,” three women triangulate around a mediocre politician, all of them desperate for him, none having much of a sense of themselves beyond their one pursuit. In “Forty-Two,” a self-proclaimed “cougar” of that age (though she hates the term) gets ready to attend a wedding of a man she’s tried to steal; in “Beautiful People,” a production assistant sleeps with a gorgeous movie star who cooks her osso buco and ultimately swindles her; in “Maid Marian,” a woman tries to make sense of her hatred for her older lover’s wife after his death. In “Grace Magorian,” Grace — “still single because she wasn’t enough of any one thing” — lies about her age and contemplates posting photos of other women on a dating app in hopes of finally finding love at 51.

These women think a lot about the food they eat, the clothes and shoes they wear. They do yoga and Pilates, take Ambien, Ativan and Klonopin, throw up and starve themselves. They deem 37 to be the age at which most of us disappear. Often they talk, wantonly and unconvincingly, of killing themselves or the men they love. Almost always, they have something tragic and violent in their past. Their interactions with one another are ruled most of all by their compulsion to assess and compare.

Topanga Canyon, CA - May 15: Lisa Taddeo, author of "Three Women," an immersive journalistic look at three women with complicated relationships to men. Now, in her first novel, "Animal," she tells a literary story of rage and revenge, involving a woman who flees New York for Topanga Canyon in search for answers to traumas new and old.Taddeo was photograph on Saturday, May 15, 2021 in Topanga Canyon, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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May 27, 2021

To call these women unlikable feels laughable: When and how will we ever move past that term? These women do not care. If you’re thin enough and hot enough, if you lie enough about the right things — your age, your orgasms, your wants and needs — nobody has to like you to keep you around, to give you gifts so large you can sell them and make more than a teacher or a restaurant worker might earn in a year.

These women sometimes have jobs and interests beyond men, but they are almost never relevant to the action of the stories in this book. When a job does feature, as in the title story, “Ghost Lover,” it’s propelled by the main character’s relationship to men. Devastated by a breakup and encouraged by an old friend she also sleeps with (“He felt like a soft iron inside you, something plain and graceless. The dumb pain of simple rod sex. You did not come”), Ari starts a business: a forwarding system for text messages. Women hire Ari and her army of stunning women — “You always brought on women you would imagine him wanting” — to respond, or not, to text messages sent by their crush. The business becomes wildly successful, but Ari is still miserable because the man she still wants still doesn’t want her back.

"Ghost Lover" by Lisa Taddeo

This is a consistent thread of the collection: wanting and not being wanted, not being wanted and feeling fury — fury at the world and other women, sometimes at men, but most of all at oneself. In “American Girl,” the rare story in which our main character gets the man she wants, it’s provisional, tainted and a little sad: “There were no problems. He said, I love you with every piece of me. Nothing he said was ever specific or realistic. She wanted him more than he wanted her. But there were no other problems.”

The two stories built around female friendship, “A Suburban Weekend” and “Air Supply,” seem at first to be more of the same — fixated on who gets looked at first, whose particular style is more appealing on any single day, at a Mexican bar or a country club pool. Yet these stories slowly grow into other, deeper concerns: a young girl’s grief, a new mom’s confidence in the face of impossible precarity and fear.

Time passes and the stakes of these women’s wants and misdeeds become higher, but you get the feeling that the characters will largely stay the same. “We would turn twenty-four and twenty-six and thirty. We would be leaving an acquaintance’s funeral — heroin, Cape Cod — and the dead boy’s father would turn to look at us, our rears. We’ve still got it, Sara would say. I laughed out loud, because I’d been thinking the very same thing.”

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All of this feels exactly as Taddeo intends it. Books and stories are often premised on the idea that we’re there to watch people in a process of transformation, but often people don’t change at all. Often people (and societies and systems) stay the same. Taddeo conveys the tragedy of this stagnation: messy, increasingly destructive, often very sad. These are women so entrenched in societal expectations, the ghosts of their own tragedies and self-hatred, which they will likely never quite escape.

This sameness and this sense of stuckness has a straightforward and somehow pleasing flatness, as if Taddeo’s goal is to give us not a fully fleshed-out person but instead a single sharp and lacerating slice. You might not know anyone like these women, but chances are that every woman you know holds at least a little bit of these women inside of them.

“Ghost Lover” feels built to provoke — and it’s provocative. It pricks and prods you with its unrelenting focus on the many ways inhabiting a certain type of female body can ruin a life. Yet, as the stagnation spreads, the edges dull. While “Animal” had the time and space to drive its devastating narrative home, here each new story seems to undermine its predecessors.

That is not to diminish their moments of power; the sentences accrue a confidence and clarity by virtue of never having to cast around for what else these characters or their stories might contain. Yet they are too much of one type to puncture quite as deeply as they might have if they’d been allowed to delve a little deeper into what it is to be alive.

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July 2, 2020

Strong is a critic and novelist. Her forthcoming novel is “Flight.”

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GHOST LOVER

by Lisa Taddeo ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2022

Like the Venetian candies in the last story, these intense little gems evaporate “like racy air.”

Nine stories take us into the world of people cooler and more attractive than we are.

Trendy bars, awards shows, political fundraisers, the right type of butter (Kerrygold), wedding table centerpiece (wildflowers in McCann's oatmeal tins), even the better side of the street (“the fine side of Bleecker, with the awnings and dachshunds”)—all the aspirational pleasures you could ever want are on offer in Taddeo's first story collection following her big nonfiction debut ( Three Women , 2019) and a novel ( Animal , 2021). People magazine may offer pictures of movie stars, but here we actually get to experience sex with one. In “Beautiful People,” a downtrodden prop master on a big movie set ends up, to her amazement, with the hottest man alive in her apartment, where he makes her veal osso buco and takes her to bed. “The first five hundred times it went in, it felt like the first time. There was no drug on earth, Jane knew, no man on earth, like this.” The dominant focus of the stories, however, is less relationships between men and women than the triangulation (or even quadrilateralization) of women around men. “American Girl” is about three women eyeing each other around the hot young senatorial candidate they all adore; “Maid Marian” is about the jealousy of an ex for her older lover’s wife. That former story contains a sentence that seems to crystallize the mood: “Noni was holding court with a few lesser-thans, in a corner with some Fernet and twinge.” Always the women are comparing bodies: “Fern was skinnier than Liv, but Liv was blond and tall and her breasts were enormous and thrillingly spaced.” “Back then, I think I had the better body. My butt and legs were more exciting.” This aggressively shallow approach is no accident—look what’s coming: “We would turn twenty-four and twenty-six and thirty. We would be leaving an acquaintance’s funeral—heroin, Cape Cod—and the dead boy’s father would turn to look at us, our rears. We've still got it, Sara would say. I laughed out loud, because I’d been thinking the very same thing.”

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982122-18-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

LITERARY FICTION | SHORT STORIES | GENERAL FICTION

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DEMON COPPERHEAD

by Barbara Kingsolver ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 18, 2022

An angry, powerful book seething with love and outrage for a community too often stereotyped or ignored.

Inspired by David Copperfield , Kingsolver crafts a 21st-century coming-of-age story set in America’s hard-pressed rural South.

It’s not necessary to have read Dickens’ famous novel to appreciate Kingsolver’s absorbing tale, but those who have will savor the tough-minded changes she rings on his Victorian sentimentality while affirming his stinging critique of a heartless society. Our soon-to-be orphaned narrator’s mother is a substance-abusing teenage single mom who checks out via OD on his 11th birthday, and Demon’s cynical, wised-up voice is light-years removed from David Copperfield’s earnest tone. Yet readers also see the yearning for love and wells of compassion hidden beneath his self-protective exterior. Like pretty much everyone else in Lee County, Virginia, hollowed out economically by the coal and tobacco industries, he sees himself as someone with no prospects and little worth. One of Kingsolver’s major themes, hit a little too insistently, is the contempt felt by participants in the modern capitalist economy for those rooted in older ways of life. More nuanced and emotionally engaging is Demon’s fierce attachment to his home ground, a place where he is known and supported, tested to the breaking point as the opiate epidemic engulfs it. Kingsolver’s ferocious indictment of the pharmaceutical industry, angrily stated by a local girl who has become a nurse, is in the best Dickensian tradition, and Demon gives a harrowing account of his descent into addiction with his beloved Dori (as naïve as Dickens’ Dora in her own screwed-up way). Does knowledge offer a way out of this sinkhole? A committed teacher tries to enlighten Demon’s seventh grade class about how the resource-rich countryside was pillaged and abandoned, but Kingsolver doesn’t air-brush his students’ dismissal of this history or the prejudice encountered by this African American outsider and his White wife. She is an art teacher who guides Demon toward self-expression, just as his friend Tommy provokes his dawning understanding of how their world has been shaped by outside forces and what he might be able to do about it.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-325-1922

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

LITERARY FICTION | GENERAL FICTION

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THE MAN WHO LIVED UNDERGROUND

by Richard Wright ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 20, 2021

A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright’s best-known work.

A falsely accused Black man goes into hiding in this masterful novella by Wright (1908-1960), finally published in full.

Written in 1941 and '42, between Wright’s classics Native Son  and Black Boy , this short novel concerns Fred Daniels, a modest laborer who’s arrested by police officers and bullied into signing a false confession that he killed the residents of a house near where he was working. In a brief unsupervised moment, he escapes through a manhole and goes into hiding in a sewer. A series of allegorical, surrealistic set pieces ensues as Fred explores the nether reaches of a church, a real estate firm, and a jewelry store. Each stop is an opportunity for Wright to explore themes of hope, greed, and exploitation; the real estate firm, Wright notes, “collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent from poor colored folks.” But Fred’s deepening existential crisis and growing distance from society keep the scenes from feeling like potted commentaries. As he wallpapers his underground warren with cash, mocking and invalidating the currency, he registers a surrealistic but engrossing protest against divisive social norms. The novel, rejected by Wright’s publisher, has only appeared as a substantially truncated short story until now, without the opening setup and with a different ending. Wright's take on racial injustice seems to have unsettled his publisher: A note reveals that an editor found reading about Fred’s treatment by the police “unbearable.” That may explain why Wright, in an essay included here, says its focus on race is “rather muted,” emphasizing broader existential themes. Regardless, as an afterword by Wright’s grandson Malcolm attests, the story now serves as an allegory both of Wright (he moved to France, an “exile beyond the reach of Jim Crow and American bigotry”) and American life. Today, it resonates deeply as a story about race and the struggle to envision a different, better world.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59853-676-8

Publisher: Library of America

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A FATHER’S LAW

by Richard Wright

AMERICAN HUNGER

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Ghost Lover: Stories

From Lisa Taddeo, #1  New York Times  bestselling and award-winning author of  Three Women  and “our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire” ( Esquire ),  Ghost Lover  is an electrifying collection of fearless and ferocious short stories.

Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. In a tense hospital waiting room, an inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life’s responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it. In these nine riveting stories—which include two Pushcart Prize winners and a finalist for the National Magazine Award—Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans,  Ghost Lover  dares you to look away.

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  • Print length 240 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date June 13, 2023
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.38 inches
  • ISBN-10 1982122196
  • ISBN-13 978-1982122195
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (June 13, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1982122196
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1982122195
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.38 inches
  • #7,385 in Short Stories Anthologies
  • #13,332 in Short Stories (Books)
  • #33,451 in Literary Fiction (Books)

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Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo spent eight years and thousands of hours tracking the women whose stories comprise Three Women, moving to the towns they lived in to better understand their lives. She has contributed to New York Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Glamour and many other publications. She has won two Pushcart Prizes for her short stories, one of which, ‘Suburban Weekend’, was also selected as a favourite piece of 2017 by Granta. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England.

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Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child - that has haunted her every waking moment - while forging the power to finally strike back.

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Should come with a lot of trigger warnings

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By: Jessica Knoll

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Masterfully blending elements of psychological suspense and true crime, Jessica Knoll—author of the bestselling novel Luckiest Girl Alive and the writer behind the Netflix adaption starring Mila Kunis—delivers a new and exhilarating thriller in Bright Young Women. The book opens on a Saturday night in 1978, hours before a soon-to-be-infamous murderer descends upon a Florida sorority house with deadly results. The lives of those who survive, including sorority president and key witness, Pamela Schumacher, are forever changed.

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By: Eliza Clark

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Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle. Placed on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery, promising to revive her career in the art world and offering an escape from her rut of drugs, alcohol and extreme cinema. The news triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centred around Irina's relationship with her obsessive best friend and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention.... 

A modern American psycho but British

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By: Gabrielle Zevin

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On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. 

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This book sucked the life out of me

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By: Coco Mellors

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Twenty-four-year-old British painter Cleo has escaped from England to New York and is still finding her place in the sleepless city when, a few months before her student visa ends, she meets Frank. Twenty years older and a self-made success, Frank’s life is full of all the excesses Cleo’s lacks. He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint and the opportunity to apply for a green card. But their impulsive marriage irreversibly changes both their lives and the lives of those close to them, in ways they never could’ve predicted.

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By: Ottessa Moshfegh

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Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate; she works an easy job at a hip art gallery and lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? 

I love it...

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Bliss Montage Audiobook By Ling Ma cover art

Bliss Montage

By: Ling Ma

  • Narrated by: Katharine Chin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Overall 4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 50
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In Bliss Montage , Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything—if you bury yourself alive. These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike.

Audiobook is defective

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Ziwe made a name for herself by asking guests like Alyssa Milano, Fran Lebowitz, and Chet Hanks direct questions. In Black Friend , she turns her incisive perspective on both herself and the culture at large. Throughout the book, Ziwe combines pop-culture commentary and personal stories that grapple with her own (mis)understanding of identity. From a hilarious case of mistaken identity via a jumbotron to a terrifying fight-or-flight encounter in the woods, Ziwe raises difficult questions for comedic relief.

Something for everyone

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By: Megan Nolan

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In the first scene of this provocative gut-punch of a novel, our unnamed narrator meets a magnetic writer named Ciaran and falls, against her better judgment, completely in his power. After a brief, all-consuming romance, he abruptly rejects her, sending her into a tailspin of jealous obsession and longing. If he ever comes back to her, she resolves to hang onto him and his love at all costs, even if it destroys her.

Wonderful and tortured

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By: Mona Awad

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It just was inane, wasn’t it?

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Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she's single. She owns her own apartment, she's about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful. And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: She meets a great guy on her first date. Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack; he has floppy blond hair and a stable job. But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry. 

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Everything Nothing Someone Audiobook By Alice Carrière cover art

Everything Nothing Someone

By: Alice Carrière

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  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 58
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Alice Carrière tells the story of her unconventional upbringing in Greenwich Village as the daughter of a remote mother, the renowned artist Jennifer Bartlett, and a charismatic father, European actor Mathieu Carrière. From an early age, Alice is forced to navigate her mother’s recovered memories of ritualized sexual abuse, which she turns into art, and her father’s confusing attentions—her childhood is spent in an adult’s world, with little-to-no boundaries or supervision.

This book is awful.

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The Perfect Couple Audiobook By Elin Hilderbrand cover art

The Perfect Couple

By: Elin Hilderbrand

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  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 7,313
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It's wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people - an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin - with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony - everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom's famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield - and no couple is perfect.

Perfect summer listen

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Everything I Know About Love Audiobook By Dolly Alderton cover art

Everything I Know About Love

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  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 819
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 673

The wildly funny, occasionally heart-breaking internationally best-selling memoir about growing up, growing older, and learning to navigate friendships, jobs, loss, and love along the ride. When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming an adult, journalist and former  Sunday Times  columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all.

  • By Jessica on 04-02-20

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By: Rachel Yoder

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  • Story 4 out of 5 stars 507

An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.

If you don’t get it just say so

  • By Stephanie Rzonca on 02-19-22

The Island Audiobook By Elin Hilderbrand cover art

  • Narrated by: Denice Hicks
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  • Overall 4 out of 5 stars 917
  • Performance 4 out of 5 stars 747
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 748

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement. It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations.

OMG this was the worst narrator!

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Publisher's summary

“Raw and searching...Taddeo returns with more ruthless explorations of the feminine mystique.” — Entertainment Weekly , “The Best New Books of the Month” * “Provocative.” — Los Angeles Times From the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Three Women and “our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire” ( Esquire ), comes an electrifying collection of nine fearless and ferocious short stories. Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. In a tense hospital waiting room, an inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life’s responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it. In these nine riveting stories—which include two Pushcart Prize winners and a finalist for the National Magazine Award—Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans, Ghost Lover dares you to look away.

  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Literature & Fiction

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What listeners say about Ghost Lover

  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 out of 5.0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Audible.com reviews, amazon reviews.

  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Amanda Long

  • Amanda Long

Just read it.

After the fifth time I told myself, “you need to write down what she wrote” and countless recommendations to friends and random acquaintances wherever, I realized I had to take the time to tell you to listen to these stories. Or read them. Or both. Don’t wait.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall 2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance 1 out of 5 stars
  • Story 3 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Meghan B.

Distracting Narrator Performance

Voice narrator was hugely distracting and made one of my favorite writers largely unlistenable. Couldn’t focus on the actual text due to her unnecessarily over-dramatized performance. Very disappointing. Will just be buying the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Performance 4 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Kenneth A. Johnson

  • Kenneth A. Johnson

Raw and Real

Women - old and young - beat themselves up in various ways, while looking for someone to love them back.

  • Performance 3 out of 5 stars
  • Story 2 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for amy w

Not like her other books

I didn’t like this at all. I LOVED Lisa Taddeo’s other books so much. I should have looked into this one more before I just bought it -without knowing it was short stories. At least I think that’s what it was?? kept realizing that I hadn’t even been listening after having my headphones on with this book for long stretches of time.

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The Demon Lover

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Home › British Literature › Analysis of Elizabeth Bowen’s The Demon Lover

Analysis of Elizabeth Bowen’s The Demon Lover

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on July 9, 2022

Published first in the Listener and reprinted in Elizabeth Bowen’s collection The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945), the title story is based on a traditional “border ballad” or folksong of the same title, the oldest version of which, “A Warning for Married Women,” collected by English diarist Samuel Pepys in 1703, has much in common with Bowen’s tale: A married woman is carried away by a vengeful lover who returns from the dead to punish her for breaking a vow. Bowen sets her version in London during the Blitz of World War II. Kathleen Drover has come up from the country to gather some belongings from the shut-up family home. The eerie atmosphere of the bombed city and the silent house creates rising tension. Mrs. Drover finds a letter that cannot have been delivered by post: It is from “K,” her soldier fiancé who died during World War I. The letter reminds her of a promise she made him and announces his arrival later that afternoon. Terrified, she remembers parting from him, his cruelty, and her mother’s warnings. She felt overwhelmed by the promise, which is never specified but seems to involve staying true to each other through eternity. She did not grieve much at his death, and in her 30s she married an unremarkable man with whom she lived an ordinary life. She cannot even remember her soldier fiancé’s face. Not sure if the part-time caretaker is in the house or not, Mrs. Drover gathers her things and leaves in a waiting taxi, heartened by the presence of the driver. In a shocking ending, the taxi speeds off before Mrs. Drover can give directions, and as she is thrown against the partition between the seats, she sees the driver’s face and screams. The last glimpse of her is her hands beating against the windows as the taxi drives into the twilight.

ghost lover summary

“The Demon Lover” lends itself to multiple interpretations. On one level, it is a modern ghost story, with its sinister revenant. The story has many features of a ghost story, or even of gothic: the atmospheric setting, seemingly supernatural coincidences of timing and place, a woman in peril, and the startling ending. Others have seen it as a more straightforward work of realism; the soldier, who somehow has survived World War I, is a psychopathic stalker who has been triggered by the current war into tracking his former lover. Thus the story leaves open the possibility that the caretaker is actually the fiancé in disguise. Another reading suggests that the soldier is a figment of Kathleen’s imagination. There are a number of hints in the story that she is not an emotionally strong woman; there is something almost childlike about her, and she seems uncomfortable with powerful feelings. In this reading, the stress of the war has brought her to a nervous breakdown. Nonetheless, by bringing a character from World War I into the setting of World War II, Bowen is also asking readers to make some connection between the wars, to find similarity in the inescapable dislocation and transformation of the familiar during war. The domestic setting also raises questions about the home and security: War is destroying Mrs. Drover’s comfortable, upper-middle-class existence. In the postscript to The Demon Lover and Other Stories, Bowen notes that her stories are about wartime rather than warfare. As such, they are about impressions and psychological states rather than concrete war experiences. “The Demon Lover” is typical of her work in this and in its fascination with the darkness beneath the ordinary surface.

Analysis of Elizabeth Bowen’s Mysterious Kôr

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bowen, Elizabeth. The Demon Lover and Other Stories. London: Chatto and Windus, 1945. Calder, Robert L. “ ‘A More Sinister Troth’: Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The Demon Lover’ as Allegory,” Studies in Short Fiction 31 (1994): 91–97. Coates, John. “The Moral Argument of Elizabeth Bowen’s Ghost Stories,” Renascence 52, no. 4 (Summer 2000): 293–309. Reed, Toni. Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988

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The Ghost in Love : Book summary and reviews of The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll

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The Ghost in Love

by Jonathan Carroll

The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll

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Published Sep 2008 320 pages Genre: Literary Fiction Publication Information

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Welcome to the luminous and marvelously inventive world of The Ghost in Love . A man falls in the snow, hits his head on a curb, and dies. But something strange occurs: the man doesn’t die, and the ghost that’s been sent to take his soul to the afterlife is flabbergasted. Going immediately to its boss, the ghost asks, what should I do now? The boss says, we don’t know how this happened but we’re working on it. We want you to stay with this man to help us figure out what’s going on. The ghost agrees unhappily; it is a ghost, not a nursemaid. But a funny thing happens—the ghost falls madly in love with the man’s girlfriend, and things naturally get complicated. Soon afterward, the man discovers he did not die when he was “supposed” to because for the first time in their history, human beings have decided to take their fates back from the gods. It’s a wonderful change, but one that comes at a price. The Ghost in Love is about what happens to us when we discover that we have become the masters of our own fate. No excuses, no outside forces or gods to blame—the responsibility is all our own. It’s also about love, ghosts that happen to be gourmet cooks, talking dogs, and picnicking in the rain with yourself at twenty different ages.

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"Carroll fans will best appreciate this jeu d'esprit. - Publishers Weekly. "A strain of syrupy romance undermines the novelist's surrealistic strengths. " - Kirkus Reviews. "Starred Review. Love, memory, and balancing the needs of our many selves are themes in this occasionally scary, often luminous work of unconventional fantasy. Strongly recommended for all fiction collections." - Library Journal.

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Jonathan carroll.

Jonathan Carroll's novel The Wooden Sea was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2001. He is the author of such acclaimed novels as White Apples, The Land of Laughs, The Marriage of Sticks , and Bones of the Moon . He lives in Vienna, Austria.

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Summary and Study Guide

Ghost is a 2016 novel by American author Jason Reynolds. A 2016 National Books Awards finalist for Young People’s Literature, it is the first installment in Reynolds’s series about the members of a junior track team. 

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Ghost tells the story of Castle Cranshaw, a troubled youth who is trying to cope with a traumatic childhood. When he joins the Defenders track team, he learns that he does not have to let his past define him. 

Castle lives in a poor neighborhood called Glass Manor. As the novel opens, he is angry and directionless. When Castle was a child, his drunken father shot at him and his mother with a pistol. They escaped and hid in the storeroom of Mr. Charles’s local market. Castle’s anger and lack of self-control are largely due to the trauma of being attacked by his father and then losing him after he is sentenced to 10 years in prison. 

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Castle’s time at school is an ongoing series of bad grades and fights with other students. One day after school, Castle sees a track team practicing. After he watches for a while, he challenges one of their fastest sprinters to a race and holds his own. Coach Brody invites Castle to join the team and then sets to convincing his mother to let him. His mother agrees, provided that Castle stays out of trouble. 

Castle gets in a fight with a school bully named Brandon the next day, but Coach picks him up and agrees not to tell his mother. At practice that afternoon, one of the runners mocks Castle’s high-top shoes. That night, he cuts the tops off of them, which only leads to worse teasing at school the next day. He then steals a pair of expensive running shoes from a sporting goods store. 

Coach takes the new runners out to a Chinese restaurant, a yearly tradition. At the dinner, Castle learns that each of them has a troubled past and secrets. He begins to feel as if he belongs on the team, and the sense of having a group helps with his anger issues. 

Coach learns that Castle stole the shoes. In the conversation that results, Coach tells him that he grew up in the same neighborhood, and that he also lost his father to drugs. Coach and Castle share a bond over their pasts that the others don’t understand. But Coach—who won a gold medal in the Olympics—also makes it clear that if he can overcome his past, so can Castle. He takes Castle to the store to apologize and then buys the shoes for him. 

At the novel’s conclusion, Castle is at the starting line, preparing to run his first race. His mother, aunt, cousin, and teammates are all supporting him. For the first time, Castle feels hopeful for his future. The novel ends as the starting gun fires. 

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Cartoon icon space ghost returns as a serious hero in new dynamite series.

After bringing back Thundercats to the love of fans everywhere, Dynamite Comics revive another superhero in the upcoming Space Ghost #1.

  • Space Ghost #1 by Dynamite Comics revives an iconic superhero, bringing fans exciting new adventures in outer space.
  • The comic introduces Space Ghost as a cosmic vigilante, ready to bring justice to those who prey upon the defenseless.
  • With successful revival of Thundercats, Dynamite Comics is giving classic heroes like Space Ghost a fresh chance at life.

Thanks to Dynamite Comics , a beloved and unexpected superhero is going to live again in Space Ghost #1 . Despite his legacy on the small screen, the character has been out of the spotlight for years. Thankfully, fans will get the chance to see Space Ghost in action sooner than they think.

Dynamite Comics has revealed that following its successful revival of the Thundercats , the publisher would be bringing back the 1960s space-faring hero Space Ghost. This May, Dynamite Comics will release Space Ghost #1 by David Prepose and Jonathan Lau for an exciting new series.

Details on Prepose and Lau's new series were kept to a minimum, but it hinted at the epic adventures in store for Space Ghost. Dynamite Comics also revealed several unlettered pages, showcasing returning characters such as the space pirate Tansut, Space Ghost's sidekicks Jan and Jace, as well as Space Ghost himself.

Space Ghost Returns in an Epic Sci-Fi Series

Space Ghost was originally a cartoon that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and premiered in 1966. Space Ghost , created by cartooning icon Alex Toth, followed the titular hero's adventures in outer space. He was joined by his sidekicks Jan, Jace, and their pet monkey, Blip. The animated series lasted for about a year before ending. However, the hero received a second life in the re-imagined sequel series Space Ghost: Coast to Coast . Instead of being a straightforward superhero, Space Ghost was reinterpreted as a talk show host who worked with several of his former villains.

This isn't the first time that Space Ghost came back in comic book form in recent years. In 2005, DC Comics published a miniseries that retold Space Ghost's origins. Over a decade later, DC Comics launched its Hanna-Barbera Beyond initiative and published Future Quest , a team-up book featuring several iconic cartoon characters, including Space Ghost. But last year, Dynamite struck a deal with Warner Brother Discovery to publish comics based on cartoons such as The Powerpuff Girls , The Flintstones , and the aforementioned Thundercats . With the groundbreaking success of Thundercats, it's safe to say Space Ghost is in very good hands .

Space Ghost Offers a New Chance at Life for a Classic Hero

Space Ghost might not be the most notable hero, but he's got an impressive and unique history. Dynamite Comics is revitalizing cartoon properties that have stagnated a bit and it's already been a successful venture. Thundercats has already become one of 2024's hottest-selling comics and if the same love and care is put into Space Ghost, there's no reason to think why this comic won't see comparable success. Space Ghost's days as an irreverent talk show host may be behind him, but Dynamite Comics' new series is giving him another chance to live the life of a superhero.

Space Ghost #1 is available in May 2024 from Dynamite Comics.

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COMMENTS

  1. Ghost Lover

    "In Ghost Lover, Lisa Taddeo's new collection of short stories, this world [of female desire] is illuminated, unpacked, and ultimately, understood. Across nine stories, Taddeo's prose cuts like a knife—sharp, visceral, and dripping with ugly truths. She understands the grueling nature of the female psyche with an almost painful ...

  2. Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo (Summary)

    Summary. LA-based celebrity "Ari the Ghost Lover" got her start ghost-writing text messages to insecure womens' romantic prospects. She's now unbelievably rich from her self-help Netflix show — but the money and fame are insufficient salves for her wounded sense of self. Ari continually laments that she is fat and ugly, and keeps herself on ...

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    Ghost Lover. Author: Lisa Taddeo. ISBN-13: 9781526653161. Publisher: Bloomsbury. Guideline Price: £16.99. The journalist and writer Lisa Taddeo had a huge hit in 2019 with Three Women, a creative ...

  4. Lisa Taddeo's "Ghost Lover" Explores the Female Psyche at Its ...

    Lisa Taddeo's "Ghost Lover" Explores the Female Psyche at Its Best and Worst Entertainment Books Lisa Taddeo Is Saying The Quiet Parts Out Loud The author of Ghost Lover explains why...

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    [Getty Images] Text settings Comments Share Ghost Lover Lisa Taddeo Bloomsbury Circus, pp. 240, £16 Lisa Taddeo's Three Women established her as a narrator of female desire in all its...

  6. Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo

    In a tense hospital waiting room, an inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life's responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it.

  7. Review: Lisa Taddeo's 'Ghost Lover': Stories of ruined women

    The summer's best novel about the bankrupt American Dream. Strong is a critic and novelist. Her forthcoming novel is "Flight.". 'Ghost Lover,' the first story collection by 'Animal' and ...

  8. GHOST LOVER

    The writing is inspired, the imaginative power near mystic, but some will wish for more plot. This historical fever dream of a novel follows the flight of a servant girl through the Colonial American wilderness, red in tooth and claw. As in her last novel, Matrix (2021), Groff's imaginative journey into a distant time and place is powered by ...

  9. Ghost Lover: Stories

    Format Hardcover. ISBN 9781982122188. From Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Three Women and "our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire" (Esquire), Ghost Lover is an electrifying collection of fearless and ferocious short stories. Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful ...

  10. Ghost Lover: Stories by Lisa Taddeo

    Community Reviews Summary of 898 reviews. Moods. dark 77% emotional 52% reflective 50% sad 31% funny 23% challenging 20% tense 17% mysterious 10% adventurous 5% hopeful 5% lighthearted 3% ... (Esquire), Ghost Lover is an electrifying collection of fearless and ferocious short stories.Be... Read more. Community Reviews Summary of 898 reviews ...

  11. Ghost Lover: Stories

    Ghost Lover: Stories. Hardcover - Deckle Edge, June 14, 2022. by Lisa Taddeo (Author) 3.8 258 ratings. See all formats and editions. Book Description. "Raw and searching...Taddeo returns with more ruthless explorations of the feminine mystique." —Entertainment Weekly, "The Best New Books of the Month" * "Provocative." —Los ...

  12. Ghost Lover: Stories Kindle Edition

    In Ghost Lover, Taddeo's talent and knack for storytelling will certainly have readers itching for more than nine stories." —Shondaland About the Author Lisa Taddeo is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Three Women , which she is adapting as a dramatic series at Showtime, and the novel Animal .

  13. Ghost Lover: Stories Paperback

    In Ghost Lover, Taddeo's talent and knack for storytelling will certainly have readers itching for more than nine stories." —Shondaland About the Author Lisa Taddeo is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Three Women , which she is adapting as a dramatic series at Showtime, and the novel Animal .

  14. Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo

    From the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Three Women and "our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire" (Esquire), comes an electrifying collection of nine fearless and ferocious short stories. Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a ...

  15. Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo on Writing Atlas: Short story summary

    Summary LA-based celebrity "Ari the Ghost Lover" got her start ghost-writing text messages to insecure womens' romantic prospects. She's now unbelievably rich from her self-help Netflix show — but the money and fame are insufficient salves for her wounded sense of self. Ari continually laments that she is fat and ugly, and keeps herself on ...

  16. Book Marks reviews of Ghost Lover: Stories by Lisa Taddeo

    The stories will chime, albeit uneasily, with those who have had bruising encounters with disingenuous, exploitative men and fremenies ... These are devastating stories of women's pain, loss and compensatory behaviour. Taddeo is the 21st century's more excoriating Edna O'Brien. Ghost Lover: Stories by Lisa Taddeo has an overall rating of ...

  17. The Demon Lover Summary & Analysis

    Analysis Kathleen Drover, a woman in her forties, has returned to her house in London during the Second World War. She has come to collect items that she will bring back to her family in the country, where they are living to avoid the bombs being dropped on the city.

  18. Analysis of Elizabeth Bowen's The Demon Lover

    Analysis of Elizabeth Bowen's Mysterious Kôr "Mysterious Kôr" was first published in the 1944 volume of John Lehmann's Penguin New Writing. The next year Elizabeth Bowen placed the story last in her collection of wartime stories The Demon Lover, which was published in 1946 in the … Continue reading Literary Theory and Criticism BIBLIOGRAPHY

  19. Ghost Lover: Stories by Lisa Taddeo

    Ghost Lover: Stories Lisa Taddeo. 240 pages • first pub 2022 ISBN/UID: 9781982122232. Format: Digital. Language: English. Publisher: Avid ... Community Reviews Summary of 715 reviews. Moods. dark 78% emotional 53% reflective 51% sad 30% funny 23% challenging 22% tense 17% mysterious 11% adventurous 6% hopeful 4% lighthearted 3%

  20. Summary and reviews of The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll

    320 pages Genre: Literary Fiction Publication Information Rate this book Write a Review Buy This Book About this book Summary Book Summary Welcome to the luminous and marvelously inventive world of The Ghost in Love. A man falls in the snow, hits his head on a curb, and dies.

  21. Ghost Summary and Study Guide

    Ghost is a 2016 novel by American author Jason Reynolds. A 2016 National Books Awards finalist for Young People's Literature, it is the first installment in Reynolds's series about the members of a junior track team. Plot Summary Get access to this full Study Guide and much more! 6,900+ In-Depth Study Guides 5,100+ Quick-Read Plot Summaries

  22. 'Banishers: Ghosts Of New Eden' Review: A Beautiful Dark Love Story

    At the heart of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is a captivating love story between the two leads. Oh ...[+] and otherworldly monsters. Don't Nod/Focus Entertainment. Don't Nod is one of the most ...

  23. Cartoon Icon Space Ghost Returns as a Serious Hero in New Dynamite Series

    Space Ghost was originally a cartoon that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and premiered in 1966.Space Ghost, created by cartooning icon Alex Toth, followed the titular hero's adventures in outer space.He was joined by his sidekicks Jan, Jace, and their pet monkey, Blip. The animated series lasted for about a year before ending.

  24. The Ghost Lover (1976)

    Synopsis Plot Keywords Parents Guide Details Full Cast and Crew Release Dates