Howard Norman's 'Call Me Ishmael'

It's hard to write a better first line than this one, from Howard Norman's latest novel, Next Life Might Be Kinder: “After my wife, Elizabeth Church, was murdered by the bellman Alfonse Padgett in the Essex Hotel, she did not leave me.”

Whether Elizabeth is haunting the narrator of this book, or whether he's imagining her, doesn't matter much in the end. This exploration of loss isn't about solving mysteries, but exploring them.

My review ran in The Washington Post today.

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