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When Nick Beron and Hannah Rampe decide to move from New York City to the tiny upstate town of Hibernia, they’re in desperate need of a change: their careers have flatlined, the city is exhausting, and they’ve reached a relationship stalemate. So Hannah accepts a job as live-in director of the Wright Historic House, a museum dedicated to an obscure nineteenth-century philosopher whose life was marred by tragedy.
At first, life in this old, creaky house feels cozy. Nick and Hannah explore the deserted museum at night, wandering the twisting halls and sneakily trying out the former owners’ original master bed. But as summer turns to fall, Hannah begins to have trouble sleeping; reluctantly, she tells Nick she’s hearing whispers in the night. Then one morning, Nick wakes up to find Hannah gone. In his frantic search for her, Nick will discover the hidden legacy of Wright House: a man driven wild with grief, and a spirit aching for home.
About the Author
BEN DOLNICK is the author of the novels At the Bottom of Everything, You Know Who You Are, and Zoology. His work has appeared in GQ and The New York Times, and on NPR. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and with his wife and daughter.
“What urban couple wouldn’t want to trade the din of the Q train for the sound of crickets, exchange a cramped apartment for a spacious old building steeped in history, only a few hours’ drive from downtown Manhattan? Think again. Ben Dolnick’s elegant, eerie new novel suggests it might be better to stay in Queens… Dolnick excels at creating a subtle, growing sense of unease… The greater mystery unveiled in this powerful novel lies not in spooky atmospherics, but our own failure to connect with those closest to us.” —Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post
"Looking for another provocative porthole to the past? Try Ben Dolnick’s fourth novel, The Ghost Notebooks. The plot provides a durable framework for Mr. Dolnick’s keen eye for detail and his penetrating ear for dialogue." —Sam Roberts, The New York Times
“A missing fiancée and a haunted house in the Hudson Valley are at the enigmatic center of Ben Dolnick’s The Ghost Notebooks, but the real mystery is how well we know those closest to us.” —Vogue
"An insightful look at our visions and revisions as we grapple with love and grief… You’ll also likely laugh. A lot." —Cory Oldweiler, AM New York "A ghost story, a mystery, and a love story in one." —Elizabeth Entenman, Hello Giggles
"Dolnick’s most thematically ambitious work… He has a gift for metaphor, a way of expressing complex emotions and relationships with a pithy comparison that’s easy to understand but genuinely illuminating, and at the same time isn’t a cliché and never feels cutesy… Over a series of short, quietly powerful novels, Dolnick has emerged as an author of compulsive readability and real insights." —Ryan Vlastelica, The A.V. Club
"For all its curiosity about things that go bump in the night, the most notable features in The Ghost Notebooks are its qualities of light. Ben Dolnick’s charm, lucidity, and insight will come as no surprise to his growing band of fans. Count me one of them." —Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire
"In this compelling mix of love story, detective story, and ghost story, [Dolnick] takes a haunting look at what might follow life." —Michele Leber, Booklist "Hannah loses her job and applies to be live-in caretaker of the Wright Historic House upstate. She and her fiancé Nick leave Astoria with dreams of a simpler, reinvigorated relationship. And then Hannah disappears. This Brooklyn author delivers an affecting and original take on love, loss, and grief in assured writing that is both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes in the same sentence." —Cory Oldweiler, AM New York's “Must-Read Books in 2018” "Dolnick's immersive novel, about how little people know about their loved ones, adds a supernatural element to that topic . . . Nick's convincing narration, a chronicle of blind spots and good intentions, is chief among the devices Dolnick deploys to give familiar motifs a contemporary sensibility in this ghost tale, love story, mystery, and bildungsroman." —Publishers Weekly