Ghost Lover

Lisa Taddeo

Ghost Lover
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Ghost Lover

Lisa Taddeo

Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. On a quest to lose her virginity, a daughter tracks down her deceased mother’s old flame, the rugged, comically named Jon Deere.

In these twelve riveting stories, two of which have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans, Ghost Lover dares you to look away.


Closing the cover on the final page of Lisa Taddeo’s razor-sharp collection of short stories, Ghost Lover, I was reminded of a line from the Joy Williams song, ‘What a Good Woman Does’: ‘Everyone’s wounded, nobody’s won …’ It’s exactly how I feel about the women in these pages.

After the phenomenal global success of Three Women and her subsequent debut novel, Animal, fans of Taddeo’s should be well prepared for the forensic focus she applies to exposing a woman’s ability for scathing self-criticism and loathing. Taddeo has a ‘gift’ for holding a mirror to the myriad ways women have internalised the millions of messages fed to us from birth, created by patriarchal capitalism, designed to keep us in a constant state of competition, self-doubt and the exhaustive, endless effort to strive for physical perfection. What Ghost Lover really does though is showcase the ugliness of the inner dialogue that has resulted in these women, after years of being trapped in this cycle. They are all victims of their own repressed desires, their thoughts poisoned by rejection and their toxic relationships with men.

In one of the short stories, Taddeo writes: ‘The famous actress wondered if any woman had ever been happy for any other woman in the history of the world.’ Reading Ghost Lover, I wondered the exact same thing. Of the nine stories collected here, all are a dark exploration of female relationships in various forms, warped and twisted by the expectations of society and the men around them.

In her song ‘Mad Woman’, Taylor Swift sings ‘women like hunting witches too’. Taddeo has presented us with stories that propose exactly that. Men no longer need to do the witch hunting; in the world view presented in Ghost Lover, women are indeed capable of doing so all by themselves. How then, do we change it?

Tye Cattanach is from Readings Kids

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