The basics: Told in a nonfiction style, complete with frequent footnotes, The Ghost Network begins with the disappearance of Molly Metropolis, a famous pop singer. Through interviews with Metropolis's inner circle and journals, The Ghost Network reads like a mystery, a biography, a history of an anarchist fringe group or mapmaking or the city of Chicago, a work on city planning, and a work of philosophy. It is all of those things, and it is none of those things.
My thoughts: I don't think my description of The Ghost Network can do it justice. It's so original, and it has so many fun discoveries in it, that I'd rather keep my description vague. I knew very little going into this novel. I think the notes in my review spreadsheet called it a feminist debut mystery. And it is, but it is so much more. As I read the first few sections, I found myself wishing Molly Metropolis were real: "She created a scene where people could claim non-conformity by listening to music made by the most popular artist in the country. And she made that paradox feel logical. Her inexplicably powerful charisma trumped better judgment."
From the first pages. Disabato captivated me. It's no secret I love both low-brow and high-brow pop culture, and Disabato gets the fun of both. The worlds she combines are amazing. Some of the lines between fiction and nonfiction are blurry, which I adored. Disabato has created a world that is both playful and smart, like Molly Metropolis herself:
"Molly loved secret histories. She also loved contradicting accounts of the same historical events. She liked ambiguities. She liked answer-less questions. She told me that she was investigating the world that traditional maps hide from us."Favorite passage: "The Situationists still aren't widely known by name, but psychogeography has become fashionable again. Everyone likes to decorate with old maps; they fetishize the idea of transcending their borders."
The verdict: Disabato masterfully blends the high-brow and the low-brow. It blends fiction and non-fiction. It's part mash-up, yet it's refreshingly original. It's compulsively readable. It's smart and funny. Catie Disabato, I want to be your friend, but I fear I might already be too much of a fan.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 290 pages
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Ghost Network from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
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