God Bless Twitter. And not just any Twitter, but celebrity Twitter. If it weren't for Neil Gaiman, @neilhimself? I know, we are still working on our relationship – I would never have discovered Jonathan Carroll, @JSCarroll.
With a title like, The Ghost In Love, I was expecting an eerie, sad love story. Instead, The Ghost In Love proves itself as social commentary on how much we've taken control of our lives; how much we need to look at ourselves and our actions and how much, how very much, we need to forgive ourselves.
Mr. Carroll's writing, along with Mr. Gaiman, falls into that magical realism/slipstream fiction that I so easily feel myself drawn to. Reading these kinds of books is like an awakening for me. I'm a believer. Reading The Ghost in Love was beautiful and validating and spooky. It is my number one book of 2009. The plot is intricate and weird, however Mr. Carroll rewards his readers in the end. The story centers around two lovers, German and Ben. Ben hits his head and is supposed to die, but he doesn't. However, since the business of Death is a huge whirling machine without stop, Ben's ghost is sent up anyway because of a “glitch” in the system. Ben's ghost, Ling, starts to fall for German, but Ben and German have split up. They do however share custody of their dog, Pilot. Pilot is the only one who knows that Ling is in love with German ? since dogs and ghosts can talk to each other, which is why dogs act so damn weird sometimes. Pilot then begins talking to Ben (yeah, talking dogs), Ben starts talking to the ghost Ling. . . and they all go down the new road of life after not-death together.
Other nasties are released due to the glitch of Ben not dying, and I was struck with how hard we all are on ourselves. How our expectations of ourselves can have a negative effect, conjuring our worst fears. Thankfully, Mr. Carroll also supplies the power to banish the nasties, and shows the reader how salvation lies within our good memories and love for each other. There was a feeling of acceptance finishing The Ghost in Love; that who you are is enough, that your love is strong enough to save, that the happy memories of our life propel us forward, not hold us back. Absolutely delightful.