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Publisher's Summary

The critically acclaimed final masterwork of John Gardner: an American novel haunted with macabre and cerebral elements.
The final novel by John Gardner, Mickelsson's Ghosts, originally published in 1982 just months before his untimely death in a motorcycle accident, is a tour de force. The protagonist Peter Mickelsson, a former star philosophy professor at Brown, relocates to Binghamton University. On the verge of bankruptcy, separated from his wife, in questionable mental health, and drinking heavily, Mickelsson decides to buy a country house in northeastern Pennsylvania. What he encounters there are impassioned and shameless love affairs (one of which results in a regrettable pregnancy), a Mormon extremist cult, small town mythologies, the robbery of a robber, multiple murders, the ghosts of an incestuous family, Plato, and our hero's own possible insanity.
©1982 John Gardner (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Mary I on 01-10-18

John Gardner at his Best

What made the experience of listening to Mickelsson's Ghosts the most enjoyable?

This is true literature, from a an author who is one of the greats of the last century, a true genius. The pure density and beauty of Gardner's writing makes this a novel you can read and/or listen to over and over and over, and always find new insights and depths to appreciate. After a time with John Gardner, Shakespeare is the only author who can compare. And I am not exaggerating.

What other book might you compare Mickelsson's Ghosts to and why?

"Sunlight Dialogues" by the same author has the same pure beauty and density. "October Light" is also very deep, and a true treasure. But most of Gardner's books are excellent. "Nickle Mountain" is one of my favorites, though, on a surface level, it appears much simpler.

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Butler Murray’s performances?

No offense to Michael Butler Murray, but he was absolutely the wrong narrator for this book. He seemed to have no idea of its depth, and tried to turn the characters into caricatures. I used to own a recording of this novel on cassette--alas, the tapes disintegrated from so many listenings and years--which was superb.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

That would be impossible. But it stands up to listening after listening. I have also read it many times. Remember, please, the narrator is totally wrong for the book. You will have to use your own power of imagination to fill in the true depth of the characters he so reduces.

Any additional comments?

This is literature of the highest quality, which will stand up to time. John Gardner was truly one of the greatest writers of the last century. The reviewers who called it "boring" were simply listening to a genre they didn't appreciate. Every Gardner fan I know--and I know quite a few--finds this to be one of his best books. I would actually purchase it again, with a more appropriate narrator.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Peter Giordano on 11-29-17

Some strange choices

The initial reaction is that this is the wrong reader for this book but he turns out to be OK for the narrative and exposition parts but with dialogue he makes some very bad choices. His "voice" for the main character, who has lots of dialogue, is like chalk screeching on a blackboard and his choices for other characters are equally annoying and often inappropriate for the character. The novel itself, which I loved in 1982, is problematic in a lot of ways but still a compelling read

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