Ghost Wall – Sarah Moss – 2018 – Contemporary/Literary
Teenage Silvie and her parents are living in a hut in Northumberland as an exercise in experimental archaeology. Her father is a difficult man, obsessed with imagining and enacting the harshness of Iron Age life. Haunting Silvie’s narrative is the story of a bog girl, a young woman sacrificed by those closest to her, and the landscape both keeps and reveals the secrets of past violence and ritual as the summer builds to its harrowing climax.
I really enjoyed the stream of consciousness writing style in this book. I’ve never read it before and was almost put off when I started reading Ghost Wall, but the more I stuck with it I found it quite hypnotic and almost relaxing. The strength of this book, at least in my opinion, is the writing as you really get an insight into Silvie as a person although I do wish she had been a bit more developed – Silvie feels like the same person at the end of the book as she did at the beginning.
I think the most interesting character in this book is that of Silvie’s father. He is an angry and abusive man, which some on Goodreads have criticised but I personally feel he felt the most realistic out of all the characters. It’s not easy to read the sections where he is lashing out, but it adds a tension to the story that I think would otherwise have been lacking.
I also really enjoyed the ending of the book. I didn’t see it coming at all, and while I felt it was a bit rushed I thought the concept was so interesting – this book reminded me so much of The Wicker Man film.
I think the cover of this book is so nice. While the image is a simple pile of wood, the texture is raised so it feels really nice to hold (sometimes it’s the little things!)
This is definitely not the normal thing I would read. There was little plot, with a lot of basic daily activities described instead, and I also didn’t see much character development either. I think if you are interested in books that are well-written novellas rather than relying on a plot this is a great book, but if you need some plot it’s not the most exciting!
I gave this book 5/5. This book was so different from my usual taste, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a go. If you’re a fan of literary fiction, check this novella out.