Abner Cray, a photographer, comes to New York City to work on a new coffee table book about Manhattan. An old acquaintance has offered to let him use his apartment while in the city, and though the two never really got along, Abner accepts. In the apartment he finds that a woman named Phyllis Pellaprat is already in residence, and over a short period of time, Abner falls in love. But Phyllis has some strange habits - and there is something odd about her that he can't put his finger on. When Abner learns Phyllis's strange secret, he is drawn into another world, a world that threatens to cave in the walls of his own and those of his mind and sanity as well. An amazing, haunting tale.
"T M Wright is a rare and blazing talent." (Stephen King )
"Wright convincingly proves that he understands, as few do, how to give a scare without spilling blood all over the page." (Publishers Weekly)
"T M Wright is the best ghost story writer alive today." (American Fantasy Magazine)
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haunting cozy, great narration
Intriguing Style but Characters Fall Flat
This was an interesting premise (a ghost story set in Manhattan), and I found T.M. Wright's style interesting as well, but this story had it's flaws.
There is an annoying disconnect with how Abner (the protagonist) is able to see the dead. The story begins with meeting a strange woman on a train who gives him this ability like a sickness, and yet not only is this seemingly pivotal moment ignored later, it also becomes apparent that Abner has seen at least one ghost when he was a young child. The story has a lot of repetition for effect (which I generally approve of) but it moves in a cyclical nature, where whole passages are repeated verbatim with little new insight.
I liked Wright's style almost immediately, but as the story progressed I found myself almost lost at times. I would have liked more grounding in reality, and I think it would have been wise to interweave the more mundane conflicts a little more strongly with the supernatural ones. Even stronger setting at times would have helped.
The thing I found most frustrating about this story was that Abner is acting out of his 'love' for this woman, Phyllis. He goes to great lengths to try and stay near her, but his actions and reactions aren't always consistent. What was a bigger problem for me, is that I was unable to take his love seriously. I couldn't understand where this supposed connection had come from, and it seemed to me more of a sexual fascination rather than anything more. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that - but as far as motivation for why Abner does what he does, I don't see it.
All that said, I felt both the story and the style had a lot of potential. The premise was really intriguing, I think it could have just done with more fleshing out. I liked Wright's style from the moment I heard the preview. I'll probably give him one more chance, though perhaps with a short story this time rather than a novel.