Ghost Lights by Lydia Millet
A Novel

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Synopsis

“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.
 

About Lydia Millet

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Lydia Millet is the author of the New York Times Notable Book Ghost Lights and eight other works of fiction. Her short story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives with her children outside Tucson, Arizona.
 
Published October 24, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ghost Lights

Kirkus Reviews

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In Belize, Hal languishes, missing the “the security of known formulations and structures.” Fleeing the circumstances of his cuckolding, Hal isn’t especially eager to find T.

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

The New York Times

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And within the U.S. only to Southern California, or more restricted still — adapted to the unchanging mildness of West L.A., where the worst weather you encountered was gray.” Because in people, as in weather, unchanging mildness is deadly, Hal regrets his inflexibility — the world...

Nov 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

The New York Times

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And within the U.S. only to Southern California, or more restricted still — adapted to the unchanging mildness of West L.A., where the worst weather you encountered was gray.” Because in people, as in weather, unchanging mildness is deadly, Hal regrets his inflexibility — the world is a ...

Nov 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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By his own account, Hal has “become a typical domestic drone, a man wrapped up in the details of his own life and only his own.” His IRS job seems redundant, underscoring that Hal is a drab, routine, sad man.

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

The Wall Street Journal

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She also lampoons the pabulum of business motivational books and the pieties of CEO memoirs in a book that is consistently funny in its stomach-turning way.

Oct 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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In 'Ghost Lights,' the second novel in a trilogy that began with 2008's 'How the Dead Dream,' a Southern California man goes to Belize in search of his wife's missing boss.

Dec 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

Millet’s new novel, Ghost Lights, the second of a trilogy, takes up the story here, this time back in Los Angeles, from the point of view of Hal, an IRS official.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Assisted by a German couple named Hans and Gretel, Hal begins in spite of himself to penetrate the mystery of Stern.

Oct 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

When Hal finds T., unshaven, underfed, full of plans to give away all his money, happy as a clam, Hal recognizes something precious and worthy of protection.

Nov 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

The Columbus Dispatch

Hal, an affluent father who works for the IRS, gives us the vague back story: His wife Susan’s boss, a young multimillionaire real-estate developer named T., has gone missing — but Hal is not so good at details.

Jan 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Carolyn Cooke Los Angeles Times 3.5 of 5 Stars "As is often the case in stories like this, Hal is less of an actor than someone who is acted upon: In the jungle, things happen to him, rather than the other way around.

Nov 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Time Out Chicago

Picking up in the vicinity of where her last novel, How the Dead Dream, left off, Ghost Lights finds new protagonist Hal flying to Belize to find the previous novel’s main man T., who disappeared there months before.

Nov 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Ghost Lights: A Novel

Reader Rating for Ghost Lights
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