Ghosts of Chicago
By John McNally
(Jefferson Press, Hardcover, 9780980016437, 228pp.)
Publication Date: October 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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John Belushi, Walter Payton, Richard J. Daley, and Nelson Algren are some of the Chicagoans who inhabit and haunt this new collection of stories from a lauded American writer. In this first story collection since the award-winning Troublemakers, many of the stories deftly resurrect deceased Chicagoans or artifacts of Chicago pop culture, creating an impressionistic portrait of the city. Gene Siskel, impatient with the movie he’s watching, taunts Roger Ebert; Miss Betsy, the host of Romper Room, experiences her own awakening during the sexual revolution; railroad mogul George Pullman remembers his greatest triumph as he draws his last breath. Other stories tell of everyday people who must confront their own private ghostsan accountant who falls in love with a woman who is in love with a man on death row; a boy whose fascination with movie monsters grows stronger as his mother’s pregnancy comes to term; a memoirist whose dark night of the soul leads him on a journey from which he may not return. Praised by writers as diverse as Richard Russo, Irvine Welsh, Elizabeth McCracken, T. C. Boyle, and Mitch Albom, John McNally is a voice to be savored.
John McNally is the author of America's Report Card, The Book of Ralph, Troublemakers, and When I Was a Loser and the editor of six anthologies. He has won numerous awards for his fiction, including the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in more than 50 journals and magazines, including Idaho Review, The Sun, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He is associate professor of English at Wake Forest University. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
"Chicago novelist McNally’s latest collection of stories resurrects Chicago icons such as Nelson Algren and Romper Room host Miss Betsy in fictional form. In one tale, Gene Siskel tires of the movie he’s watching and decides to taunt Roger Ebert instead." TimeOut Chicago
"The ghosts in these stories are indeed haunting, but in the most profound, heartbreaking, hilarious and human ways. Cumulatively McNally's stories have the pulse and swagger of the finest sociological novel, but individually they have a wholly different effect. Lives are laid bare with stunning clarity in tales in which one moment, one exquisitely crafted turn of phrase has the power to reveal the truths and lies, disappointments and wonders of a lifetime, an era and a city." James P. Othmer, author, The Futurist