On the recommendation of Nancy Pearl, I used some Christmas money to buy a copy of John Carroll’s novel The Ghost in Love. What with one thing and another, it’s taken me most of a month to finish reading this relatively slim novel — but I’m glad I had a chance to savor the experience. The novel is one of those books about which it is difficult to say “this is a story about . . . ” any one thing. The story begins when a man falls and hits his head on the curb — an act that is supposed to end in his death. Yet he fails to die. This glitch in the cosmic program (a sort of computer virus, suggests the Angel of Death) sets off a chain reaction of events that affect the lives of many people (and non-humans) around the man who failed to die. It’s sort of Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man) meets Audrey Niffinegger (The Time-Traveller’s Wife): not a shabby way to begin the the new year in books.