Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Ghost in Love

Every Friday , the New York Times publishes a special section in their newspaper entitled Escapes. Different from the Travel section, Escapes showcases second home locales or places just perfect for the perfect, well..... escape. I both look forward to, and slightly dread, dipping into these weekly pages, for I know I shall find myself sorely tempted by the words I read and the pictures I see. Faded seaside towns with steep cobbled streets where I might just find the weathered beach cottage I keep in my treasure chest of secret longings. Or green mountain villages where people of a lilting language could point me in the direction of that stone cottage with the diamond paned windows that often haunts my daydreams. Every Friday morning with paper and coffee, I pore over this section and my mind begins to roam. Soon I am perusing real estate websites and visualizing paint colours. By no means am I disenchanted with my current place in the world, but there is something that, to me at least, is so deliciously tempting about the idea of escape.

Fortunately for me, there are all sorts of definitions for escape. And one of the best, and certainly most cost efficient, is within the pages of a book. I have just returned from such an escape and am still unpacking all my shiny souvenirs. What a time I had! Generally, when I pick up a new book, I have some sort of hint as to what to expect. Either I have read a review, been given a recommendation, or perhaps I am already acquainted with the author and have returned to sample more delights from their literary table.

But I had no idea where I was headed when I cracked open
The Ghost In Love by Jonathan Carroll and began my journey through its pages late one stormy evening last week. I settled back into my pillow and just held on for dear life. All the dependable touchstones and signposts were thrown out the window pretty soon after page one and I was left as giddy as a buttoned-up passenger on a runaway train of ideas.

With talking dogs, reincarnations, and angels of death, not to mention time travels, picnics in the rain with all one’s former selves...and yes, even a ghost in love, this surreal book may not be for everyone. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if it was for me. But I soon discovered it felt quite refreshing to read something that stretched out my mind like a difficult yoga pose. I was entranced by the sheer scope of the writing and I relished my escape into this author’s expansive imagination.
The Ghost in Love may not equal that stone cottage in the faraway trees, but it will more than suffice as my escape for this week.

Painting above: On Top Of The World by James Hill