Vendor
Inkwell Management
Published by
Harper (2015-03-10)
Original language
English
Themas
Memoirs
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AMERICAN GHOST

A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest

by Nordhaus, Hannah

The award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper’s Lament attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia--whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe—in this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West.

The dark-eyed woman in the long black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.

La Posada—“place of rest”—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home’s original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband.

American Ghost is a story of pioneer women and immigrants, ghost hunters and psychics, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she traces the strands of Julia’s life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.

Hannah Nordhaus is the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller The Beekeeper's Lament, which was a PEN Center USA Book Awards finalist, a Colorado Book Awards finalist, and a National Federation of Press Women Book Award winner. She has written for the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, Outside magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She lives with her husband and two children in Boulder, Colorado.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk

Comments

Expertly dissects fact from embroidery. . . . A colorful and engrossing quest.

Review: Elle (7 Must-Read Books)

Tenaciously researched and beautifully written, American Ghost gives flesh to a lost story, exhumes a bygone world, and animates the ways in which the past haunts all of us. Hannah Nordhaus has performed a lyrical feat of dead-raising.

Quote: Benjamin Wallace

American Ghost is at once an engrossing portrait of a forgotten female pioneer and a fascinating meditation on the fine line between history and lore. Hannah Nordhaus has crafted a seamless blend of gripping mystery, moving family confessional, and chilling ghost story.

Quote: Karen Abbott

Here is a very different sort of a Western, a deeply feminine story with a strong whiff of the paranormal--Willa Cather meets Stephen King. Don’t read this book late at night . . . unless you like feeling your neck hairs stand up on end!

Quote: Hampton Sides

The author’s multifaceted work brings Julia back to life and explores the journey it took to rediscover her narrative. . . . Every aspect of the account is enlightening, well written, and entertaining. This touching and uplifting work is highly recommended and will appeal to a variety of readers.

Review: Library Journal (starred)

Part travelogue, part memoir, part ghost story, part history. . . . Nordhaus offers a deeply compelling personal account of her attempts to better understand her own family. . . . The book’s unique blend of genres and its excellent writing make it hard to put down.

Review: Booklist (starred)

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in the beautiful literary afterlife Hannah Nordhaus has given her great-great-grandmother. American Ghost is a perfect blend of compassionate empathy, hardheaded journalism, and lucid writing.

Quote: Mary Doria Russell

Hannah Nordhaus approaches the legend of her great-great-grandmother’s ghost with the insight of an historian and the energy of an inspired detective. A fine tale well told. I loved every word.

Quote: Anne Hillerman

A fascinating and nuanced account of her ancestral ghost story and her complicated clan.

Review: BookPage

Journalist Hannah Nordhaus braids personal memoir with historical research and resolute ghost hunting in a narrative that investigates the restless spirit of her great-great-grandmother Julia Schuster Staab.

Review: Boston Globe

A thoughtful and intriguing chronicle of familial investigation.

Review: Kirkus

A unique collision of family history, Wild West adventure, and ghost story. . . . Perceptive, witty, and engaging.

Review: Publishers Weekly (starred)

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