... extraordinary ... a haunting collection of loosely linked vignettes that quickly exploded the tropes I’d associated with writing about place ... As the novel gains momentum these lives and others begin subtly intertwining — David Mitchell-like — until the gears behind Lewis’s narrative reveal themselves, and a kind of ethos emerges from the urban cacophony: We are all connected in our disconnection, our solitude, our heartache, our longing. We are united by the city, which gives and takes indiscriminately, and in the end outlives us all...I don’t mean to sound a down note; there are hardly any to sound. Ghosts of New York is a wondrous novel, with prose that sparkles like certain sidewalks after rain ... Lewis’s sentences read like events, and his eye for the smallest detail is exquisite ... If the effect can seem disconcerting at first, it feels, by the end of the book, all but inevitable, as if the story could be told no other way ... That’s it, I thought. That’s exactly what it’s like to live in New York.
... wondrous ... encounters among strangers result in unexpected relationships, and a montage that celebrates a city of manifold graces ... Lewis’s observant, gradual stories are linked by recurrent characters and figurative ghosts, which arise in people’s impressions of a city that’s marked by history ... Against this shifting vastness, surprising, intimate situations unfold ... Mixed in length, from a sketch comprised of a list of dead New Yorkers, to an extended, first-person departure set around a man who reminisces about love and loss during his academic years, these stories relish city seasons and backgrounds. They’re unabashed in their extended descriptions of passersby, who often wear striking clothing and make photo-worthy gestures, such that peripheral details accrue into their own spectacle ... The stories omit realistic grit, but nonetheless delve deeper than a romantic paean would: they burrow into their characters’ psyches with delicate, idiosyncratic deliberateness—wearying when it leads to too much introspection, and startling when it hits the right emotional notes ... a subtle, dexterous novel in short stories.
... poignant vignettes ... Lewis is a master at painting developed characters captured in various moments in time. There is little dialogue in these series of vulnerable snapshots, but the lyrical narration is continuously engaging, especially as the episodic stories begin to interlace.
Poignant vignettes ... This theme—of one reality nesting within another and people being tethered to each other, their specific neighborhoods, and the stories that preceded them—plays throughout the multiple strands, depicting the connections the characters may share with each other, but it’s only the thinnest of filaments. The novel reads like a striking literary version of the movie My Dinner With Andre, each narrator riffing on life and beauty, the joys of the city coupled with the heartbreak of human existence ... Line by line, the writing is beautiful, crisp, and keen-eyed. The stories, alas, never add up to more than a series of compellingly rendered mosaic tiles, lacking the sharp trajectory of a short story and the slow-building resolution of a novel ... Readers looking for more than freshly executed moments honoring NYC and its dwellers may be disappointed.
... rich if diffuse ... Lewis finds great beauty in his descriptions, though the many threads drift and occasionally feel unresolved, particularly the late speculative concept of a half-real, half-mechanical bunny sold by street vendors that acts to spread a deadly flu in The Winter Market. While the character-driven sequences are stylishly conceived and nuanced, the fragmented pieces fall short of completing a bigger picture. Readers will find themselves wishing for a little more.