Review: Ghost Wall

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

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