“The Ghost Writer:” Norko publishes para-normal story


by Emily Reed, Reporter

Are you surprised that your English teacher is also a published author?  Mr. Damon Norko published his latest novel with Black Rose Publishing on November 5, 2015.

“The Ghost Writer” is an unconventional tale that refuses to be bound by the  stereotypes that bind all traditional ghost stories. The defining characteristic that sets “The Ghost Writer” apart from its predecessors is the inclusion of philosophical questions and the notion that ghosts are not a natural occurrence.

The explanation provided in “The Ghost Writer” for this phenomenon states that ghosts are merely products of science. Among these specters is Arnold, the bitter protagonist. After 64 tiresome years, Arnold met his human demise due to diabetic shock. While Arnold is not particularly distraught about his recent death, he is more upset that his family shares his sentiments.

Arnold’s inner turmoil stems from his resentment of his apathetic family and the numbing sensation that nullifies all of his feeble attempts to care about his life after death.

“There’s a certain comfort in oblivion,” says Arnold.

To Arnold’s dismay, Dr. Herbert and his prodigious Orpheum Corporation plan for Arnold to become the “first literary voice from beyond the grave.” Arnold complies to their demands and writes short stories inspired by memories made during his 64 years of living.

Unfortunately, only a small fragment of Arnold’s experiences can be described as cheery. Because of this, Arnold believes that he will attract more readers if he alters his recollections slightly. Arnold does not fully realize the extent of his embellishments until his conscience speaks the words.

“Is this why you write? To edit and then revise your life?”

In the middle of Arnold’s biggest pitfall yet, he meets his saving grace, Clarisse. As Arnold begins to befriend Clarisse, she suddenly vanishes.

What impressed me most about “The Ghost Writer” is the noticeable lack of frivolous detail. Not a single page of this novella is unnecessary, and all words were chosen meticulously for an exact purpose.

In most cases, the purpose is to create imagery so vivid that it makes the reader feel as if they are a part of the story. Specifically, settings are described so extraordinarily well that if anyone was presented with the task of building a set, they wouldn’t need to use their imagination because all details are provided.

What adds to this imagery is the use of words that have a meaning that goes beyond the literal.

For example, the name Orpheum Corporation is rooted in Greek mythology. In Ancient Greek lore, Orpheus is described as a legendary hero, writer, poet, and talented musician. Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice who died shortly after his proclamation of love.

When Orpheus briefly inhabited the Underworld to save Eurydice, he was dead. When Orpheus returned to the land of the living he became “alive” again. Technically, Orpheus transformed into a ghost.

It is no coincidence that an organization that creates ghosts is named after a ghost. This book is riddled with countless words and phrases laden with double meanings such as Orpheum Corporation.

“The Ghost Writer” is refreshingly unique because of its stylistic flair in a genre dominated by books with analytical tones. This rather poetic science fiction novella breaks all traditional rules of the genre in order to create a thought-provoking literary work of art.