Ghost Alan Lightman s first novel Einstein s Dreams became an international best seller and was hailed by Salman Rushdie as at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifull

  • Title: Ghost
  • Author: Alan Lightman
  • ISBN: 9780375421693
  • Page: 346
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Alan Lightman s first novel, Einstein s Dreams, became an international best seller and was hailed by Salman Rushdie as at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written His novel The Diagnosis, called highly original and imaginative by The New York Times, was a finalist for the National Book Award Now comes a stunning and distAlan Lightman s first novel, Einstein s Dreams, became an international best seller and was hailed by Salman Rushdie as at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written His novel The Diagnosis, called highly original and imaginative by The New York Times, was a finalist for the National Book Award Now comes a stunning and disturbing new novel about a man s encounter with the unfathomable.David is a person of modest ambitions who works in a bank, lives in a rooming house, enjoys books and quiet walks by the lake Three months after unexpectedly being fired from his job, he takes a temporary position at a mortuary And there, sitting alone in the slumber room one afternoon at dusk, he sees something that he cannot comprehend, something that will force him to question everything he believes in, including himself After his metaphysical experience, all his relationships change with his estranged wife, his girlfriend, his mother and he grudgingly finds himself at the center of a bitter public controversy over the existence of the supernatural As David struggles to understand what has happened to him, we embark on a provocative exploration of the delicate divide between the physical world and the spiritual world, between skepticism and faith, between the natural and the supernatural, and between science and religion.Combining a dramatic story with compelling characters and provocative ideas, Ghost investigates timeless questions that continue to challenge contemporary society.

    870 Comment

    • Nick Duretta says:

      This book was frustrating. On one hand, its marvelously written, with fascinating characters and a complex theme--the very nature of reality. On the other hand, I had trouble accepting the book's base premise--that a man who claims to have seem something ghost-like rise from a dead body would become the focus of such a high degree of fame and scrutiny. In addition, the man himself, forty-ish and unassuming, is almost ghost-like himself. In early chapters we learn that, although he was an excelle [...]

    • Vonia says:

      Alan Lightman writes like a poet. More specifically, his descriptions read like poetry. It evokes emotions and paints such palpable images. A man's seemingly ordinary contemplation as he waits for a customer to arrive easily becomes twenty pages of un-putdownable picturesque prose from Lightman. He uses his writing to evoke emotions and present an event/feeling/situation without ever actually mentioning that event/feeling/situation. This is something all good writers do, a higher level of the mo [...]

    • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~ says:

      This started out with so much potential.Then it fell flat.I hate when this happens. :/

    • Sara says:

      A book where nothing happens and yet everything happens. The division between this world and the next, black and white, science versus faith, fact, fiction, the supernatural, the wisdom of baring a personal experience to others who abuse that trust - it's all here. It's also written in the present tense which gives it a different tone - the slowing down of conciousness, the sense of seeing everything in slow motion as it actually happens.This book is a slow-paced, story of a man who works at a m [...]

    • Lori says:

      Hmmm Definetly not what I was expecting. I am a little upset, I feel as tho I didnt get my moneys worth on this one (I bought it at full price in Hardcover)I thought I was going to be reading a novel about a guy who sees something a ghost, or whisp, coming out of a dead body in the mortuary he worked at. However, while that is in essence what the book is, I found that I was really reading a novel that just asks "which camp are you in"? Are you a believer in the supernatural- the 'second' world, [...]

    • Sarah says:

      It's notterrible? But I was promised a mortuary ghost. The book is mostly just a lot of talk about divorce, college nostalgia, career disappointments, daily trifles, and so on. The "supernatural" bits felt shoehorned in and didn't quite work.The most interesting character was the funeral director who had panic attacks whenever he left the funeral home. I wish he'd been the main character. Even without ghosts, it would've made for a more compelling story.

    • Darlene says:

      This novel, a recommendation from a friend, was not at all what I expected it actually turned out to be much more than I expected. At the beginning of the story, we meet David Kurzweil. All we seem to know is that David appears to be having a breakdown of sorts at the very least, he is wrestling with something that has happened to him a sort of battle between the logical and reasonable part of him and the other part, which questions life, its meaning and all of those intangibles that can't be pr [...]

    • Ezzy says:

      I can't decide which was the more annoying thing about this book.1) The scientists in this book, and how they react to the "supernatural", bear no relation to actual scientists and their world. As a scientist and statistician, I feel maligned. Hard to get past that. Lightman sets up these straw-man characters to make his point about how science doesn't believe in the supernatural and can't stand that some people do. Also, real academics would never be dragged into the sort of insanely stupid "de [...]

    • Sheryl says:

      More of a story about believing in ghosts, than ghosts. Not what I expected. Well written.

    • Andrew says:

      I'm still trying to decide if I like this book or REALLY like this book. Lightman tells an unconventional story in an unconventional way. David Kurzweil is middle aged and laid off from his job at a bank. He finds work in a family-run funeral home, where he discovers that he has a skill for working with the grieving families of the deceased. He becomes a part of the funeral homes "family," and comes to look upon the owner as a surrogate father. He's been divorced for some time, but still carries [...]

    • Kate says:

      I throughly relished this novel. What a magnificent philosophical debate on the afterlife and beliefs. This book was so eloquently framed and wonderfully written that I couldn't put it down. I really liked the details of the funeral home and the haunted quality the book possessed on every page. David, the main character is your average joe. He has a boring job (at the bank). He has a routine and everything seems to be moving along just fine until he is laid off at the bank and takes a job at the [...]

    • Laura says:

      I've loved Alan Lightman since first reading Einstein's Dreams. Pursuing him into his novels has been a bit of a disappointment, however. He utilizes a unique combination of the scientific and the artistic, but I often find myself wanting more depth to the big ideas he tackles. This book conveys well the uncertainty of memory and the sensory experience. Lightman's writing style portrays a deeply unsettled protagonist who thinks he experienced a "supernatural" event, and follows him as he tries t [...]

    • Nesa Sivagnanam says:

      Forty-two-year-old David Kurzweil, divorced and a law school dropout, subsists on diner food and lives in an apartment building with a Greek chorus of similarly unattached men. So demoralising was his abrupt dismissal from the bank where he worked for nearly a decade that the only employment he’ll take is as a mortuary apprentice — a literal life in death.David finds an adoptive family at the funeral parlor, benevolently ruled by an agoraphobe named Martin. While working in the slumber room, [...]

    • Margaret says:

      When I see a book with Haunt, Ghost, etc. in the title I expect the author to deliver. Instead the only "ghost" we're entreated to is a three second vapor that the leading protagonist witnessed emitting from a dead body. That's it, no more spookfest! The rest of the novel deals with the protagonist's preoccupation with what he saw, questioning what is, what isn't and being half terrified that it was in fact a spirit that he saw for three to five whole seconds. The protagonist was an extremely un [...]

    • John says:

      Although I never quite understood exactly what it was that the main character "saw" in the funeral home, I decided that it really didn't matter. I was interested in how his situation turned out, finding the ending satisfactory, if not terrific. The secondary characters were quite well done, not cluttering this relatively short novel at all. My main concern was that I feel I may have missed the larger (philosophical) point. But, even if so, and I enjoyed reading the book, is that all truly import [...]

    • Katie says:

      I thought this was a mediocre read - there were just too many plot points that seemed not very credible and it distracted me (usually I'm pretty laid back about that kind of thing, but not with this one). I did enjoy some of the passages where he talks about what he calls the "totality", i.e. the thin membrane between the world of the living and that of the dead, and how quickly the future becomes the past. In that way it was more of a philosophical musings kind of book rather than just a ghost [...]

    • Teri says:

      This books is the story of a man who believes he sees something strange while working in a funeral home. He is not sure if it is really a "ghost" but knows that he saw something that he cannot explain. Most of the book is about him searching for an answer, wanting to prove that he didn't just imagine it or isn't going crazy. The book is very well written and interesting, but in my opinion, not nearly scary enough. The book is more about whether ghosts exist than there being one.

    • Diane Klajbor says:

      Very strange book. You never find out exactly what David saw in the funeral home, but whatever he saw changed his life completely. There's a lot of philosophy in this book. There are also characters that don't add anything to the story. I checked this book out of the library thinking it would be about ghosts. It was about much more. Interesting, but misleading.

    • Angus McKeogh says:

      I was hoping for perhaps better from Lightman since Einstein's Dreams is one of my favorite books. And it started okay and he finished really well, but there were some pretty dull stretches in the middle. Not at all a scary read. It's about the nature of belief.

    • Isis Buxani says:

      Life is too short to bother yourself trying to finish an awful book.

    • Ron Charles says:

      Alan Lightman's new novel, Ghost, does not contain a werewolf, a vampire or Patrick Swayze. It may not even contain a ghost. No knife-wielding ventriloquist's doll carves up these chapters. If you're looking for hell hounds, you're barking up the wrong tree. Ghost is by no means the scariest supernatural tale you could read on Halloween -- King is still king -- but it may be the smartest, and for that reason it ends up being a hell of a lot more unsettling than a horde of flesh-eating zombies.A [...]

    • James says:

      Writing and storytelling are not mutually exclusive, but they don't always overlap. Lightman clearly knows how to write, but in this case, the storytelling is so methodically slow and focused on an average fortysomething who has lived an underwhelming life, including a divorce and failed bank career, that I slowly stopped caring, even after he becomes a sudden local celebrity (unlikely) after seeing a ghost in a mortuary where he took a new job out of midlife-crisis desperation. I'm sure had I f [...]

    • Mary says:

      Well written book in general; but I was constantly annoyed by the main character. Probably more interesting if you enjoy whiny, neurotic main characters (with an unfathomable inability to understand the concept of "replicating a study to get real results because something happening once may be an accident"). I don't, so this was really not for me. I spent the entire book wanting to tell this guy to get a hobby, or to go outside and take a walk, or really anything other than constantly over-analy [...]

    • Kody Dibble says:

      I'm surprised by this books ratingsI think people have forged a desire in books that is all together different from how the entirety of novels are. This book is exquisitely written and offers a glimpse into a not so uncommon narrative in the sense that nothing to magical or unbelievable happens. Which is strange because it is based upon a man who sees a ghostThis book did the job of entrenching you in David's life through various conflicts and inter-personal talks. I suggest if you read it, be p [...]

    • Amy Kriewaldt Hudson says:

      Lovely proseI enjoyed the writing more than the book. Some gorgeous moments here, but overall it seemed like a mid-life crisis gone awry.

    • Cindy says:

      Difficult topic. Author did an evenhanded and thoughtful job. I enjoyed it.

    • Kim Zinkowski says:


    • Andrew Alderman says:

      In short, I wouldn't recommend this book, unless it piqued your particular taste or interest. It isn't poorly written, however there are issues, in my opinion. This is philosophical or psychological fiction, though more philosophical in the sense that it asks an essentially unanswerable question, and in the end, doesn't bother to answer it. If you see the cover and think this is a ghost story, it is not. I didn't think that, as I always read a book's first few pages or first chapter before buyin [...]

    • Cindy Huffman says:

      This book was on a list recommending it. Why, I do not know.I thought this would be about a ghost. Instead, it turns out to be 'something David couldn't believe he saw' in the slumber room of a mortuary that David worked at.Obviously, the book is from David's perspective. And let me tell you, David is one mucked up fella. And we read on and on and on and on about David's boring, depressing, brooding, thoughts throughout the 240 pages of this book.At some point, I was bored to tears and glazed ov [...]

    • L.J. says:

      I have to say this book gets better as it goes on. My problem with it is that the characters only seem to really begin to feel real just before the book ends. The first 80 pages feel distant, flat-- the characters don't seem to have volume or weight. This could be chalked up to the idea that the main character has been living a kind of half-existence, recoiling from spontaneity and the messiness of human contact-- for some time. But I'm not sure it's entirely a stylistic choice as much as the su [...]

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