Vintage: A Ghost Story

A lonely gay teen bides his time with trips to strangers’ funerals and Ouija board sessions, desperately searching for someone to love—and a reason to live following a suicide attempt. Walking an empty stretch of highway on a autumn night, he meets a strange and beautiful boy who looks like he stepped out of a dream. But the vision becomes into a nightmare when the boy turns out to be the local urban legend, the ghost of a star athlete killed in 1957. Vintage: A Ghost Story is a romantic thriller with a quirky cast of friends, vintage clothing, Valomilk candies.

Steve Berman’s Vintage: A Ghost Story combines the vibrancy of the contemporary YA fantasy novel with the atmosphere of the traditional ghost story to produce a work reminiscent of that of Robert Aickman or Algernon Blackwood, where the ghosts exist both as manifestations of tragedies from the past and as echoes of modern loneliness and social isolation.

The protagonist of Vintage is himself initially a somewhat ghostly character: for instance, the other characters in the story rarely, if ever, speak his name. After being outed as a gay teen in his old neighbourhood and viciously accused by his parents of being a "sick child," he has run away to live with his aunt. He has stopped going to school and has instead fallen into a pattern of drifting aimlessly between his job at a local vintage clothing store and the rundown diners where he eats in order to avoid his aunt’s horrible cooking. When the protagonist meets Josh, who turns out to be the ghost of a gay teenager from the past. The protagonist is thrilled, believing that he has finally met someone he can talk to and have a relationship with. He soon discovers, however, that the secrets of the past can also endanger those who live in the present, and that it is not just Josh but his own personal ghosts which must be laid to rest if he is to have a future.


4 thoughts on “Vintage: A Ghost Story”

  1. did you already read it? I was slightly disappointed at the book in the end. One For Sorrow by Christopher Barzak was very similar in the outset, but imho a much more accomplished and satisfying novel, though it wasn’t “gay” in a strict sense, rather homoerotic undertones.

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