City of Ghosts

C of G Cover

City of Ghosts is a stunning and memorable debut.” ―Charles Johnson


Following a whirlwind romance, Isabel Grady has moved halfway around the world with her new husband. Far from her apartment in New York City, Isabel finds herself living at the top of an ancient, vine-covered palace. The colors of Nepal are brighter than those at home. The smells are more intense. The sounds are dizzying. The dense heat of the tropical summer gives way each afternoon to torrential rains. Overwhelmed by the strangeness of the city but mesmerized as well, Isabel thrills to her new life even as it throws her off balance.

W.W. Norton, May 2003

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“City of Ghosts is brilliantly vivid, beautifully patterned, and extremely suspenseful. It’s a substantial book on a substantial theme—nothing less than the attempt to ameliorate grief. An impressive first novel.”—David Shields


“In her first novel, Stoberock combines a powerful, if ethereal, sense of place with an insightful portrayal of the dynamics of friendship. Intriguingly juxtaposing worldly sophistication and primitive emotions, the story follows Isabel Grady and her evolving relationship with her best friend, Anna Davis. Anna is preparing to travel around the world, in part as a reaction to the death of her brother (who was also Isabel’s lover). Anna introduces Isabel to Danny, a trekking guide from Nepal, who first becomes involved with Anna, then when Anna leaves for her trip, with Isabel. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, and Isabel follows Danny to Kathmandu, where he lives in a vast, exotic, crumbling palace with another expat couple. When Anna finally arrives for her planned hike in the Himalayas, Isabel insists on coming along, and the simmering tension among the trio breaks out in open emotional warfare during the arduous mountain trek. This is a novel that will get under your skin, with its very contemporary take on tumultuous romantic relationships and its vivid depiction of beautiful Nepal.” –Booklist


“Stoberock writes extremely well; her descriptions of Nepal are as elegantly crafted as her psychological portraits.” –Washington Post