In post-9/11 New York City, a lonely young man poses as his missing neighbor’s grief-stricken boyfriend—and soon becomes entangled in her fractured family.
Stoop-shouldered and balding beneath a porkpie hat, Jonah Soloway is an old man before his time. Effectively orphaned when an SUV took his mother’s life, he has retreated into a solitary world of vintage artifacts and comic books. But he longs to make a human connection—even if it means twisting the truth to get it. When he dials the number on Rose Oliveri’s 9/11 missing poster and reaches her mother, Vivian, one innocent lie leads to another, and before Jonah knows it, reality becomes uncertain even to him.
Stalked by Rose’s ghost, Jonah finds himself falling deeper into his own fabrications as he wanders a city turned surreal in terrorism’s settling dust. But when he meets Jane, an irreverent student of psychoanalysis, he’ll be forced to choose between illusion and the possibility of a true relationship.
Both a poetic journey into the heart of post-9/11 New York and a darkly comic commentary on how we cope with loss, The Nostalgist is a striking debut novel from a masterful new author.
“Like Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, Griffin Hansbury’s lyrical, solidly crafted novel brings you deep into the fabric of New York City and right into the minds of ordinary New Yorkers who are actually more extraordinary than they think. Hansbury captures the very weird post-9/11 months with honesty, humor, precision, and heart.” – Mike Albo
“an exceptionally engaging debut… Hansbury’s greatest accomplishment might be making the internal life of a seemingly unappealing protagonist intriguing enough to make us sympathize with his plight.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch
“The gifted Griffin Hansbury has written a highly intelligent and haunting novel, set in New York City during the early wake of 9/11, that is as much about longing for a past that never existed as it is about mourning for actual lives lost. The Nostalgist is a moving, resonant, and distinctive debut.” – Ralph Sassone
“Hansbury’s novel is a stunning addition to the budding canon of 9/11-literature… With its quirky and appealing characters and beautifully disquieting prose, The Nostalgist is certain to pique readers long after its last page is turned.” – ForeWord Reviews