National Book Award Finalist Howard Norman delivers another provocative, haunting novel, this time set in a Vermont village and featuring a missing child, a newly married private detective, and a highly relatable ghost.
Simon Inescort is no longer bodily present in his marriage. It's been several months since he keeled over the rail of a Nova Scotia-bound ferry, a massive heart attack to blame. Simon's widow, Lorca Pell, has sold their farmhouse to newlyweds Zachary and Muriel - after revealing that the deed contains a "ghost clause", an actual legal clause, not unheard of in Vermont, allowing for reimbursement if a recently purchased home turns out to be haunted.
In fact, Simon finds himself still at home: "Every waking moment, I'm astonished I have any consciousness... What am I to call myself now, a revenant?" He spends time replaying his marriage in his own mind, as if in poignant reel-to-reel, while also engaging in occasionally intimate observation of the new homeowners. But soon the crisis of a missing child, a local 11-year-old, threatens the tenuous domestic equilibrium, as the weight of the case falls to Zachary, a rookie private detective with the Green Mountain Agency.
The Ghost Clause is a heartrending, affirming portrait of two marriages - one in its afterlife, one new and erotically charged - and of the Vermont village life that sustains and remakes them.