Quirky and romantic, "Stay Close, Little Ghost" is an
ecstatic debut novel flecked with fever dream fairy tales: a
girl with no eyes scratching personal messages into the
walls of the subway tunnel, a woman whose running mascara
streaks over her body as she fades into a shadow on the
wall, a missing child seen swimming across a lake bottom, a
lost secret city where love is like tasting the real thing
after tasting the fast food version for your entire life, a
house whose painted landscape and sky walls erupt into a
blizzard, magic glasses that translate languages and see
inside people, a map of all the four-leaf clovers in the
city, miraculous diamonds that hold the key to any question
in the world, and a little wolf that lives inside the
stomach of the narrator.
Against this fantastic backdrop, a wonderfully flawed mathematician unravels as he collides with the most famous open problem in modern computer science.
The result is a love story unlike anything else.
Praise for Stay Close, Little Ghost:
``I find myself thinking of passages from Catcher in the Rye... Serang swims to the depths of his darkness and just as his lungs are about to burst, he turns back to the light. He sees beyond the fleeting sparks that we think are the essence of our lives.
In the last few breaths of his book, Serang's voice arrests me. Until now, I've been aware of his adeptness at playing with the artifice of fantasy and fairy tale. He employs the imagery that these storytelling forms invite him to use but it's when he allows this structure to fall away that his voice transforms into the voice inside my head. He speaks to me directly and for the time it takes to read those last pages, I forget that I am holding a book in my hands.''
-The Uncustomary Book Review
``It slams the rigidly logical vehicle of mathematical distillation into the hallucinatory fog of magical realism... Maybe it's because I'm coated in a little residual magic from recently revisiting the similarly feverish, preternaturally dreamlike world of Haruki Murakami, or because I've been wallowing in a surfeit of 30s-onset introspection about things that exist in a more distant past than their still-healing scars suggest, but Stay Close, Little Ghost offered one of those fated chance encounters of crossing paths with a novel at the absolute perfect time: It told me everything I've been needing to hear and I got to be the patiently, earnestly receptive audience it deserved.''
★★★★½ / 5
-Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
``Stay Close, Little Ghost is a slim little novel, but it delves into its subject in startling detail and in a manner that keeps the reader alert for nuances and clues. Oliver Serang's narrator probes for meaning and understanding in the mystical forces between two people with a hypersensitivity to those complex undercurrents, never relying on conventional descriptions or common notation. He makes use of unusual devices - a little wolf in the belly, for example, that sniffs and howls at those signals that go unnoticed by most people - as well as strange symbolism, portentous dreams and signs. At times, Oliver Serang's writing style reminded me of the Symbolist writers, of Maurice Maeterlinck or Fyodor Sologub, which is not a route commonly followed in modern literature. Serang however applies this style meaningfully, creatively and in an entirely modern context with the intention of delving more deeply to get past the convenient fallbacks that writers usually rely on when exploring this subject. It's not always easy to follow but it ensures that the book pulses with the vibrant imagination of this unique outlook without ever becoming precious or pretentious. It's like a literary form of synaesthesia, the author resorting to abstract visual references to describe the indescribable, mapping out relationships on a magic diamond, or finding a mathematical solution to the placement of four-leaved clovers in a city.''
★★★★★ / 5
-Top 500 Amazon reviewer
``Stay Close, Little Ghost, is reminiscent of Murakami's finest moments. It is unflinchingly honest, magically immersive and so imbued with heartache that it's like revisiting your Top Five All-Time Worst Breakups Ã la High Fidelity. But at all once. And completely devoid of self-pity's trappings because it's too stuffed with raw emotion's introspection to fit much of anything else.''
-The Next Best Book Blog
``I felt like this novel was sort of the birth child of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Jonathon Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close... I had to slow down my reading a bit and absorb it as much as possible. This prose is quite a beauty.''
-The Lit Pub