4 thoughts on “Visit of a Ghost – by John Howard

  1. Pages 7 – 22

    “He apologised to a woman whose perambulator he collided with.”

    It seems appropriate, even meaningful, that about an hour ago I finished another work by this author in a different book about a different place (here). It contained a character called Iain who reminds me of the self-felt ghostly attenuation of Sorin here in the Howardian running genius loci of Steaua de Munte in Romania, around the time of the League of Nations and photographs being taken of almost ignorable giant airships floating over the crowds at Wembley (not far from Wycombe?) in distant England, where Sorin has a pen friend, also called David!
    This is a genuinely ungraspable Chinese Whisper of a plot, like that airship, even this sturdy luxurious book it’s held within like air in an airship, as Sorin inadvertently creates a rumour stemming from England of a ‘visit’ from a famous writer, one that I suspect will be become a reality, if, like Sorin, an attenuated ghostly one, to some eyes and other points of view of the family to which Sorin belongs, vanished libraries and perhaps nebulous bookshops, and other jobs where the family name appears, feuds and family connections underpinning much of Steaua…a ‘visit’ that might have some bearing on the whole concertina or domino rally of history in Romania, I wonder? The lemonade, notwithstanding. And the King’s brylcreem.

  2. Page 22 – 36

    “From up here, I would say that Europe is around me.”

    And the English writer’s visit is also timely for our own times, I guess. We should insist it did go ahead, in the way the newspaper, as primary source, that we see Sorin reading, attests.
    This is an aesthetically delightful book and, by dint of an uncertain meeting of minds, and of restaurant entertaining, it contains a highly poignant work. A network of truth as alternative fact, or vice versa. And the actual, incontrovertible meeting of Sorin with the eldest of his family in Steaua, a hundred year old lady, attests more than we can attest ourselves, and which may also have bearing on who was in that pram with which he earlier was said to collide. Or who was pushing it?
    This book describes itself as chasing a phantom. Until you the reader become the phantom, and the book a literary primacy of integral source that so sturdily keeps you as its bijou content. Or cover embossing.

    “When the least is said, more ways are left open.”


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