Ghost Wall (Moss) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[A] compact, riveting book. Female sacrifice is never far from the center of [Moss's] concerns; she wants us to question our complicity in violence, particularly against women.… [Silvie's] presence in the novel is richly physical, and through her physicality, Moss immerses us in the pleasures of nascent sexuality and adolescent independence.… Ghost Wall is tautly framed by Silvie's point of view. Her conversations and interior monologues are embedded in lean, no-nonsense paragraphs. Moss is not much interested in giving Silvie and her rebellious tendencies room to breathe. This is a novel about being constrained, even trapped.
Ayson Hagy - New York Times Book Review


A master class in compressing an unbearable sense of dread into a book that can be read in a single horrified (and admiring) hour.… Ghost Wall is perhaps the finest novel so far to come out of the British literary response to these uneasy times.
Sarah Perry - Wall Street Journal


The fear produced by this fine-honed, piercing novel springs not from the superstitious customs of prehistory but from the more intimate horrors of human nature.
Sam Sacks - Wall Street Journal


[Ghost Wall] compresses large and urgent themes—the dangers of nostalgic nationalism, the abuse of women and children, what is lost and gained when humans stop living in thrall to the natural world—into a short, sharp tale of suspense. The way Moss conjures up the dark magic and vestigial landscapes of ancient Britain reminded me a little of the horror movie The Wicker Man.… The novel’s feminism, though, felt utterly contemporary.… I read Ghost Wall in one gulp in the middle of the night. It was a worthy match for 3 a.m. disquiet, a book that evoked existential dread, but contained it, beautifully, like a shipwreck in a bottle.
Margaret Talbot - The New Yorker


Sarah Moss possesses the rare light touch when it comes to melding the uncanny with social commentary.… Ghost Wall is such a weird and distinctive story: It could be labeled a supernatural tale, a coming-of-age chronicle, even a timely meditation on the various meanings of walls themselves. All this, packed into a beautifully written story of 130 pages. No wonder I read it twice within one week.
Maureen Corrigan - NPR


A short, sharp shock of a book that closes around you like a vice as you read it.… From the terse, dismaying little prologue, in which an iron age girl is marched out and murdered before an audience of neighbours and family, to the hair-raising, heart-stopping denouement, it hurtles along and carries you with it, before dumping you, breathless, at the end.… Ghost Wall is a burnished gem of a book, brief and brilliant, and with it Moss’s star is firmly in the ascendant.
Sarah Crown - Guardian (UK)


Ghost Wall, a slim but meaty book, is like nothing I have read before; its creepy atmosphere has stayed with me all summer.… Moss combines exquisite nature writing, original characters and a cracking thriller plot to make a wonderful literary curiosity. It deserves to pull her out of the bog of underappreciation and on to the prize podiums.
Alex O'Connell - Times (UK)


The curious allure of re-enactment is cleverly explored in Moss’s short, potent novel.… A Brexity tale to send shivers down your spine.
Rebecca Rose - Financial Times (UK)


Ghost Wall.… is further proof that [Moss is] one of our very best contemporary novelists. How she hasn’t been nominated for the Man Booker Prize continues to mystify me—and this year is no exception.… [A] gripping narrative.… It’s an intoxicating concoction; inventive, intelligent, and like no other author’s work (Five-Star Review).
Lucy Scholes - Independent (UK)


Reading Ghost Wall in the context of contemporary Britain only serves to highlight the folly of wishing for the good old days.… The book can be read as a Brexit fable, where seppuku levels of self-sacrifice are forged with lemming-like gusto.… There is a spring-taut tension embedded in the pages.… Moss’s brevity is admirable, her language pristine.
Sinead Gleeson - Irish Times


[Combines] the components of a thriller with a nuanced understanding of history, its fluctuating interpretations and its often traumatic effect on the present.… Moss’s sensual writing recalls the late Helen Dunmore.… A bold, spare study of internecine conflict.
Catherine Taylor - New Statesman (UK)


(Starred review) [P]owerful and unsettling…. The novel’s highlight is Silvie, a perfectly calibrated consciousness that is energetic and lonely and prone to sharp and memorable observations…. This is a haunting, astonishing novel.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review) This novella-length story is thought provoking on multiple levels, with insights into primitive and modern societies, and coming of age in the face of family violence —Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA
Library Journal


Tackling issues such as misogyny and class divides, Moss packs a lot into her brief but powerful narrative.
Booklist


[Explores] issues of class, sexuality, capitalism, and xenophobia…. [Moss's] decision to use unformatted dialogue…can be frustrating…, but it also shows Silvie's panic, confusion, and longing.…. A thorny, thoroughly original novel about human beings' capacity for violence.
Kirkus Reviews

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