Book Reviews, writing

Book Review : GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss

Title : GHOST WALL

Author : Sarah Moss

Publisher : Granta

Pages : 152

ISBN : 9781783784455

Story :
In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.
For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs–particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.
The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?
A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.

Review :

There are certain times when you sit to read a book and just can’t get out of it. You know it is a short read, the words are fluent and the story swift, yet you like the feel of it in your hands and your mind wandering off to that distant place that it speaks of. Ghost Wall has had such an effect on me.

This is my very first Sarah Moss novel and I’m glad that I came across it. The story is about a young girl called Sylvie. When she’s supposed to be having a normal life in modern times, she’s stuck with her aberrant father and a bunch of students on a historical holiday as an experiment to experience the iron age life first hand.

Things could have been all neat and easy if not for her outrageously abusive father. I seriously had the urge to get inside them pages and place a slap on his cheeks with the back of my hand. Okay, may be not that violent an urge, but closer to it. But the question is, is he the the only one with a crack in his head? Honestly, the only rational character that I could acknowledge was that of Molly’s.

Imagine being in a coop, wearing only tunics, receiving steady rounds of beatings at the slightest folly, and assembling feelings most likely to be labelled “uncultured” or “irrational“. Kudos to Sylvie for enduring all that and for being able to stay put. 👏🏻

The ending was orchestrated with this purely unnerving scene (of course I would not speak of it, unless you want a spoiler!), that meticulously portrayed the fine line between what normal is and what Sylvie believes it to be.

Ghost Wall is dark, haunting and deep. You need to caress it to savour it the best way, raw and fresh! Here goes 4 glittering stars to this fantastic piece of work. Would recommend it to people who needs to have a different taste of a well researched, truth-based fiction.
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Thanks to the publisher for a copy for review!
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Find the book on :

Amazon IN|UK|US

Goodreads

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About the Author :

Sarah Moss is the award-winning author of six novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children and The Tidal Zone, all shortlisted for the prestigious Wellcome Prize, and her new book Ghost Wall, out in September 2018.

She has also written a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, which was shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize in 2013.

Sarah Moss is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in England.

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Review by ©TheGirlOnTheOnGo

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