Skip to main content

Ghost Lights

A Novel

Lydia Millet


List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/24/2011)


"Surreal, darkly hilarious and profound." —San Francisco Chronicle

Ghost Lights stars an IRS bureaucrat named Hal—a man baffled by his wife’s obsession with her missing employer. In a moment of drunken heroism, Hal embarks on a quest to find the man, embroiling himself in a surreal tropical adventure (and an unexpected affair with a beguiling German woman). Ghost Lights is Lydia Millet at her best—beautifully written, engaging, full of insight into the heartbreaking devotion of parenthood and the charismatic oddity of human behavior.

Praise For Ghost Lights: A Novel

[Millet’s] writing is always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself.
— Laura Miller

Strange, alternately quirky, and profound.
— Josh Emmons

Gorgeous…If literature can under the best circumstances transport, then Millet’s extraordinary vision brings us in on the float.
— Minna Proctor

A yarn about marriage, fatherhood, and idealism, its every page idiosyncratically entertaining, amusing, and insightful. Millet proves she might have Jonathan Franzen beat at expertly mixing the political and domestic.

Millet is that rare writer of ideas who can turn a ruminative passage into something deeply personal. She can also be wickedly funny, most often at the expense of the unexamined life.
— Tricia Springstubb

Richly imagined.

With its linguistic and plot pranks and underlying moral complexity, Ghost Lights recalls the laconic, Lacanian novels of Paul Auster. Like Auster, Millet presents a disoriented postmodern hero who becomes a willing but only marginally competent detective in a mystery that requires a series of absurd divagations leading to a life-changing or life-threatening existential inquiry.

— Carolyn Cooke

Millet…skillfully interweaves the personal and the political, making Hal’s journey both specific and universal.
— Christine DeZelar-Tiedman

Thrilling, witty, and philosophical.
— Kimberly Cutter

Millet is a gifted writer, often dropping droll and sardonic throw-away lines of surprisingly smart humor.

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393343458, 256pp.

Publication Date: November 5, 2012

About the Author

Lydia Millet has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her books have been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and longlisted for the National Book Award. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.