Ghost Lover: Stories

S. & S. Audio. Jun. 2022. 6:56 hrs. ISBN 9781797141565. $17.99. F
In her first collection of short stories, Taddeo (Three Women) explores women’s emotional experiences of sexual encounters brought about by the dating app Ghost Lover, which forwards text messages on users’ behalf. Each story is narrated by one of seven sensational voice actors—Carlotta Brentan, Alana Kerr Collins, Erin deWard, Amanda Dolan, Imani Jade Powers, Aida Reluzco, and Gail Shalan. All deliver outstanding, nuanced performances of situations fraught with desperation when an online match does not reply to an email (“Grace Magorian”), heartbreak as a problematic child is abandoned (“Padua 1966”), or a litany of snarky comparisons (“American Girl”). Two Pushcart Prize–winning stories are included: “42,” which chronicles two women who are in love with the same man, and “A Suburban Weekend,” which considers the imbalanced friendship of two women. Other highlights include “Ghost Lover,” an account of getting even after being spurned, and “Maid Marian,” an anecdote of always coming in second for a man’s affections. Listeners may be disappointed to see that the individual narrators are not credited with the tale each performs.
VERDICT These nine short stories highlighting women’s desires, judgments, obsessions, and frustrations are intriguing, but somewhat uneven. A solid, if nonessential purchase for most libraries.
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