Beth Benedix’s Ghost Writer is a deeply layered narrative which, from its first pages, tears into the artful, sometimes disorderly fashion in which story comes together for an author and the man who is her subject. Asked by the family of Joe Koenig, a 90-year-old concentration camp survivor to help collect his stories into a memoir, Benedix completes that fraught and painful enterprise by challenging herself to examine her own past—woman, daughter, mother, teacher, reader. She quickly forges bonds with the unapologetically cantankerous, and unerringly wise, Joe. Thus we are propelled on a journey across the landscape of two emergent stories: one Benedix draws out of Joe, and one he illuminates in her heart and intellect. Cranky, loving, boldly unafraid of his own, deeply earned grudges with the past, Joe is above all a smart man, a teacher, a witness. His compelling lessons are beautifully unsprung by Benedix, who comes to elegantly detail the story of her own passage through pain and memory, literature and philosophy, father, family and dark quirks of the past. Where all this goes, and where it ends, is testament to the freaky, surprising power of a story consciously told, by two brave and full hearts.
Tom Chiarella, author of Foley's Luck and Thursday's Game