"The Ghost of Greenwich Village," is the debut novel of Lorna Graham. It's more or less a coming of age story and a moving to Manhattan to make it story, set largely in the world of television morning news shows. Graham has certainly learned about this world on the job: she's credited with having written for top American network anchors, including Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and Ann Curry at "Dateline NBC," and Charlie Gibson at ABC's "Good Morning America." She's also credited with print journalism, for The New York Times, among other publications, and with the authorship of a short film, A TIMELESS CALL that was directed by Steven Spielberg.
In her first novel, a young woman moves to Manhattan looking for romance and excitement, and to try to find the tracks of her late mother's experience there decades ago. But she finds that her unusually cheap Greenwich Village apartment - with a fireplace, no less, is haunted by the ghost of a bad tempered Beat Generation writer who demands a labor-intensive favor of her.
Eve Weldon has a lot invested in moving to Greenwich Village. She's shaking the dust of Ohio off her shoes, leaving her widower lawyer Dad, known as Gin, in the green hills of Rolling Links, a condo golfing community just outside Greenwich, Ohio, in the vicinity of Columbus. And she's finally following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother Penelope, who lived in the Village during the early sixties among a thriving community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the first author she meets is the grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is light-weight segments of a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. Furthermore, the hypercompetitive network environment bears no relation to the genial camaraderie Eve imagines her mother's literary scene to have been. Eve begins to wonder if the world she is looking for no longer exists.
Well, we're talking chick lit here, of course, and I'd have to say very little actually happens in this book, plot's kind of thin. So is the New York atmosphere. So is the TV news atmosphere - and in my checkered career, I actually worked in TV news for a while. At any rate, all are rather thin. So are Graham's characters, very few of them are fleshed out enough to cast shadows, and especially not Donald, the supposed ghost of the angry Beat writer: at one point, the author actually has him say "What the heck," which constituted a dizzying minute for me: angry beat poets didn't speak like that in my experience. Furthermore, Graham's dialog is rather stilted. However, some of the places Eve's mother supposedly hung out do actually exist to this day, and Graham gives us some interesting background on them.
But I'd have to say Eve's mother Penelope and the crowd she hung with would most likely be less than a decade my senior, and the world Graham attributes to her mother in the Greenwich Village of the early 1960s is actually not much like the place I found when I wandered in during the early 1960s. And this book will not work to a reader who doesn't actually believe in ghosts. I believe Lorna Graham is an intelligent, talented, hard-working woman who writes nicely, but, based on the evidence of this book, I'm sorry to say I don't think her future lies in fiction.