The Ghost Writer introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the Great Books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his idol, E. I. Lonoff.
At Lonoff's, Zuckerman meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background who turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's and who may also have been his mistress. Zuckerman, with his active, youthful imagination, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life.
The first volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound, The Ghost Writer is about the tensions between literature and life, artistic truthfulness and conventional decency—and about those implacable practitioners who live with the consequences of sacrificing one for the other.
"Roth's most controlled and elegant work...serious, intelligent, dramatic, acutely vivid, slyly and wickedly funny...seductive far beyond its brief efficiency." —Village Voice
"I had only to read the two opening sentences to realize that I was once again in the hands of a superbly endowed storyteller." —Robert Towers, The New York Review of Books
"Further evidence that Roth can do practically anything with fiction. His narrative power—the ability to delight the reader simultaneously with the telling and the tale—is superb." —Washington Post