I came across the word, “daylight ghost” in the following sentense of the fiction titled “The Lost Order” appearing in January 7 New Yorker magazine.
“I have not always – had not even long – been a daylight ghost, a layabout, a mal pensant, a vacancy, a housewife, a person foiled by the challenge of getting dressed and someone who considered eating less a valid primary goal. I hade been a fairly busy environmental lawer, an accidental expert of sorts in toxic-mold litigation.”
I can imagine that “daylight ghost” is the word to describe an introverted and passive woman from the following words, ‘layabout,’ 'mal pensant,’ ‘ a vacancy,’ ‘housewive.’ However, no dictionary at hand carries the word, “daylight ghost.”
I found two entries of this word in Google. One as the title of the fiction, ‘Daylight Ghost - A Memoir of War and Love’ by Janine di Giovanni, and the other as the same name title of a song of John Wesley Harding.
What does “daylight ghost” exactly mean in a word? Is it well-used English word, or did the auther of “The Lost Order” just pick up the word from such a title of books and songs?
In connection with the above quote, can I translate a ‘mal pensant’ simply as “wrong thinker”? Is there any other implications? Does this word pass as a day-to-day English word today?