Ghost Light

Romance - Contemporary
190 Pages
Reviewed on 04/04/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Constance Stadler for Readers' Favorite

Do you believe in ghosts? A central theme of Ghost Light is that, if so, you will recognize what being haunted means. As the story begins, Gerald de Vere (bearing the same name as the author) is a graduate student completing his master’s in tandem with being consumed by feelings for Saidey, a free-spirited pink-pigtailed undergraduate. Brought together by a shared love of art, Gerald’s passion must be expressed as purely platonic. His overwhelming attraction to Saidey is complemented by unrelenting self-contempt for his indecision in expressing his devotion. He also has another love: the about-to-be-demolished campus playhouse, the home of two specters, Alice and Brian, who died by violent means. Alice mocks his self-made torment and the potential consequences of fruition, something Gerald knows all too well. However, his fantasies change when Saidey shares a horrific experience. The story spans a decade as the protagonist fully appreciates that ghosts take many forms.

Gerald’s internal monologue is expressed in poetry, a fitting choice. Although consistently forthright, the meaning only becomes evident in the final stanzas. The epilogue highlights Hamlet’s 'to be or not to be' contemplation, where ‘conscience does make cowards of us all.' While the tone shifts to include amusing descriptions of college roommates and the convoluted calculations behind ways to extend time with Saidey, the ending does not quite bring the satisfaction of closure—questions will always persist. The author's artful summation strips away everything save a reflection on ironic truths and painful ironies. How Gerald de Vere glides between individual pathos and universal confrontation reflects mastery in episodes of absurd amusement joined with irrefutable significance. In this sense, the flickering ghost light is a messenger that illuminates what mortality means. Ghost Light is a compelling tale that underscores the specters embedded in all of us.