cover image Ghosts of Bergen County

Ghosts of Bergen County

Dana Cann. Tin House (Norton, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-941040-28-7

A broken family, haunted by tragedy, attempts to start anew with disastrous results in Cann’s assured debut novel. Gil Ferko, a Manhattan venture capital firm executive, has relocated to New Jersey with his wife, Mary Beth, for a change of scenery after a horrific hit-and-run accident claimed the life of their baby daughter, Catherine. Unable to surmount the emotional devastation, Mary Beth has become a depressive recluse managed by high-dose medication. Though tortured by memories, she also becomes enchanted by visions of a little girl who begins appearing and speaking to her. Eager for some excitement and “to find a different way forward,” Gil reunites with Jen Yoder, a commodities trader, aspiring actress, and former high school classmate, but her heroin use becomes a bad influence on Gil, who also becomes a user. As he and Mary Beth drift apart, other complications ensue related to the accident that killed Catherine. Though a bit sluggish in the final sections, Cann’s novel is an impressive, accomplished effort, nuanced in its depiction of complex interpersonal drama and eerie elements of the supernatural. (Apr.)