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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A dying drug kingpin enslaved to the memory of his dead wife; a young woman torn between her promising future and the hardscrabble world she grew up in; a mother willing to do anything to fuel her addiction to pills; and her youngest son, searching for an answer behind his brother’s disappearance—these are just some of the unforgettable characters that populate Ghosting, K ...more
Published April 2012 by Ig Publishing
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A really excellent novel - right up there with the best I've read this year. Other reviewers have compared the novel to Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, and the comparisons are apt, but Ghosting is a novel that stands by itself. The writing is so good, I found myself taking my time so as to really savor the sentences. Another thing I marveled at - there are no flat characters in this novel. Every character, however small a part they play, is fully realized. That's not something that's easy to do ...more
Ghosting by Kirby Gann is a brutal book.

But that’s not to say it isn’t worth reading. In fact, this book provides huge rewards for readers who can get past the brutality and harshness of the world Gann has created, a world where property is fenced in by “a parade of bones” and young men are made to cut the teeth out of dead men, a world that combines elements of the classic coming-of-age novel with lyrical writing and a cast of characters who make the ensemble on television’s Justified look lik
If Winter's Bone was a short sharp blow to the temple, Ghosting is a knife stuck up to its bolster and twisted slow in something vital. Terrifying, humane look at the price loyalty extracts from one crippled boy moving weed and oxy through E. Kentucky. I read it, finished it, flipped to the beginning and read it again.
Wow. This book is intense, sad, powerful, overwhelming, gruesome and hopeful. It is definitely outside of my normal fare, and honestly, I can't say I recommend it to anyone I know very well. But I absolutely will never regret having read it.
Charles White
Excellent. Modern day Hamlet in the Rough Midwest of Kentucky. Highly recommended.
I just lost interest about half way through and stopped reading.
Jun 01, 2012 Kerrie marked it as to-read
New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Kirby Gann
Jun 17, 2012 Kirby Gann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: readers of Southern Lit, Literary Fiction, or Noir/Crime
Shelves: written
“A high-low cocktail of lovely prose and cruel deeds…. Gann populates his novel with darkly beautiful images. . . . [Ghosting’s] mysteries are its rewards.” —The New York Times Book Review

"Tthe characters are fully realized—rooted in the land and veined with bad blood—and their motivations are complex and believable. Violent, bloody, and darkly beautiful, this is a fascinating novel depicting the seedy bottom of an America in decline.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Unfolding with unflinchi
Aaron Cooley
In GHOSTING, a young man in 1990s backwoods Kentucky yearns to find his older brother who went missing while running pot for small-time (but big ego-ed) local kingpins. Gann's visceral prose engulfs the reader in its rusty quarries and weedy sink holes, but a more careful outlining of the plot itself may have served him better; at a moment when the story finally starts to get going, I looked down and my Kindle said it had taken 50% of the text to get us there. Similarly, the ending is ultimately ...more
Mysterious  Bookshop
James Cole has always been of two-worlds: the ho-hum middle class life of his aunt and uncle, and the hardscrabble existence of the lake, where his mother and half-brother reside. The latter prides itself on community, if not lawfulness, and the members of the lake always look out for each other. But when James’ brother Fleece disappears, no one seems to be able to help. Soon James must take his place as a runner for the local drug kingpin in order to get some answers. “With a plot as full of tw ...more
I still haven't caught my breath. What a beautifully written, yet harrowing story that I can't stop thinking about. The book started off with a slow boil, and a pervading sense of doom following the main character, James Cole Prather, who is looking for his missing half-brother, Fleece. Nineteen, a little sad and sometimes not too smart, Cole is just beginning to decide who he is and what he wants from the world. He becomes entangled with the very men who may be responsible for Fleece's disappea ...more
Not the genre I usually choose but I picked this book up at the library on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.
Ivy Wigmore
Ghosting was bleak but lyrical, in some places hard to read, but powerful.
A story reflecting reality, unfortunately. Slow start but it pulls you in, like quicksand. I found myself involved with the characters even though I didn't like any of them. Some of this book really creeps me out. One, because it has some incredibly graphic violence. Two, because the descriptions of said are so real one wonders if the descriptions are of actual events. Three, either the author has witnessed some extremes of human behavior or it's all in his imagination. I'm not sure which is mor ...more
Nicki Schwenkbeck
I wanted to like this book more. The writing was beautiful and portrayed poetically the difficult lives of the characters. The mood was dark and you could feel the gritty world Cole and Greuel's crew inhabited especially contrasted with Shady's charmed life. However the pacing was off for me. I didn't get pulled in fully until about halfway through and then everything seemed to happen at once. I did like the ambiguity at the end surrounding Cole but the final pages with Shady sort of fizzled out ...more
I really wanted to keep reading this one, but the overly ornate language is proving to be too dense for me right now. This book has all the qualities that I look for in a good read--gothic setting, complex characters with interlocking stories, and gorgeous prose--so I hope I can pick it back up again another time when I'm more ready to immerse myself.
heartbreaking, grim, and beautiful. complex, sympathetic characters drive a plot with mystery at its heart. a tough book, and a good one.

(full disclosure: i had the privilege several years ago of being in a workshop led by kirby gann. i read another of his novels, "napoleon in rags", and admired his writing then. after "ghosting", i still do.)
Laura Ellen
oops, guess I didn't save my review. The thrust of it was this: wish I had written this book. Gann's Kentucky is dark, disturbing, and almost romantically decayed. My favorite line goes something like this (to describe the protagonist's junkie mother): Lyda doesn't remember so much as she free associates . . .
This has been a very interesting read. The setting is dark and hopeless and the characters are fascinating. While I've really enjoyed this novel, it's taken me longer to get through than most. I find myself almost having to prepare myself for the read. It's a world filled with despair, one that I hope to never visit.
I really enjoyed this book -- it's great writing, and I think the author did an excellent job at writing from various characters' points of view. It was an interesting story about a culture and place I know absolutely nothing about. There were some scenes where I felt like I was the characters -- very disconcerting!
What an outstanding depiction of the dark and cruel underbelly of rural Kentucky. Complex characters, who inspired both empathy and revulsion. Wonderfully paced narrative, with skillful use of flashback to further unravel the mystery of Fleece's disappearance.
Hmm. I liked this, despite some problems I had with the mystery part. The writing is just beautiful. But it's a little ornate and gets in the way of the mystery. I'm still not even sure what really happened mystery-wise --
Jess Baker
In one word evocative. Violent and bloody? Sure but on the scale of sopranos not american psycho. The prose is amazing, the characters and setting deep and delicious. In my humble opinion this constitutes great writing.
Lisa Beaulieu
Goddamned depressing. Unflinching, raw, beautifully written, so honest. And goddamned depressing. I can't get over how sad, but I would not want to unread it, it was just that beautifully written too.
Ginger Averitt
One word: intense. Also over-written at times. A sad story, but quite possibly I am harder on it because I didn't pick a good time in my life to read it. Overall, definitely thought-provoking.
Lindsay Loughlin
These dark and disturbing books are normally right up my alley, but I jut couldn't get into this one. The prose is just a little too ornate for me. I stopped about halfway through.
Matt Anderson
Very well written and addicting. The story is very believable for people who have lived or are living in similar worlds, making this a very addicting read. Job well done sir.
Giving this a two stars. Gann does an outstanding job painting the details of individual moments but the overall pace and tension of the book was disappointing.
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Kirby Gann is the author of the novels Ghosting, The Barbarian Parade, and Our Napoleon in Rags. He is also co-editor (with poet Kristin Herbert) of the anthology A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play, which was a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (Anthologies). His work has appeared most recently in The Lumberyard and The Oxford American, among other journals. He ...more
More about Kirby Gann...
Our Napoleon in Rags The Barbarian Parade: Or, Pursuit Of An Un American Dream A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play John Knowles' A Separate Peace: Bookmarked Ghosting: Free eBook Excerpt

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