Skip to main content

Ghost Lover: Stories

Review

Ghost Lover: Stories

Lisa Taddeo, the bestselling author of THREE WOMEN and ANIMAL, returns with GHOST LOVER, a collection of nine stories that already has hit a nerve across the pond. The woman Esquire called “our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire” offers tales that revolve around the hot-blooded concerns of contemporary heroines facing grief, love and a one-road obsession with the power of a world of human hearts.

“He liked his cold to be ice-cold and his hot to be melting hot. He liked extremes in everything, his trees to be not pines in the Adirondacks, not even sequioas in Tahoe, but giants in the Yukon. He likes his women either untouched angels or deeply damaged, like a case of chilled Labatt that had been shipped without temperature control to Florida.” This man sends an email to his love in which he poetically divulges his deepest desires for her but ends up deleting most of the message by accident. So all she receives is: “Dear Grace, I am writing to say, Sent from my Venus.”

"Reading these stories put my filmmaker instincts on high alert. Any of them would make a fantastic short film; collectively they illustrate some of the darkest and most wondrous places we all go, together and apart."

With this kind of sharp attention to an individual’s most obtuse and specific character traits, Taddeo turns on its head the whole aspect of a romantic story. She is the one who doesn’t believe in usual or simple looks at the world-at-large, and every piece here attests to that.

The title story is about a forwarding system for text messages that helps you communicate with your desired one without having to figure out the right way to express that love. Hard-partying friends end up in an ER waiting room, watching their lives change forever, when suddenly the crazy wonder of their glory days comes back to help them cope in the strangest way possible. Taddeo puts irregular people in a regular situation and lets her deep and abiding sense of characterization take off like a rocket --- catching fire as we race to keep up with the compelling and unforgettable emotional journey that awaits.

Taddeo can get a little intense, and it’s a lot of fun (and very enjoyable reading) to hit up her particular view of the world one story, one situation and a few characters at a time. She is a sharp observer of all the best and worst ways that people attempt to survive in this digital-savvy, uncomfortable and politically correct society. It should come as no surprise that she is adapting THREE WOMEN as a dramatic series for Showtime.

Reading these stories put my filmmaker instincts on high alert. Any of them would make a fantastic short film; collectively they illustrate some of the darkest and most wondrous places we all go, together and apart. There is no barrier between what we feel about Taddeo’s characters and what she feels about them --- we are all in the same boat. She isn’t hiding anything in complicated metaphors or mysterious happenings. Instead, she uses her best poetry to ensure that we get to see the best and worst of ourselves in each of her unique protagonists.

GHOST LOVER is an outstanding collection. As Taddeo says in the story “Maid Marion,” “Everyone in the world had children. Even though Noni had no experience of her own, she intimately understood what Susanna meant about scraping the minutes. She was a keen observer of others’ routines. She absorbed their stories.” Taddeo could be writing about Noni and then about all of us, as she helps us realize that maybe we aren’t all that different under the skin as we might think.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on July 15, 2022

Ghost Lover: Stories
by Lisa Taddeo

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1982122188
  • ISBN-13: 9781982122188