“Sarah Moss writes with a lyricism and an intelligence unlike any other author, and in Ghost Wall she deftly weaves threads of history, power, gender, and obsession into a stunning story that envelops you from the very first page. Lovely and haunting, Ghost Wall is both a powerful glimpse at how humanity interprets its history and a chilling reminder that the lines between past, present, and future are not always as clear as they seem.”Rebecca Speas, Just One More Page Books
A taut, gripping tale of a young woman and an Iron Age reenactment trip that unearths frightening behavior.
The light blinds you; there’s a lot you miss by gathering at the fireside.
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.
Praise for Ghost Wall:
"Narrator Christine Hewitt's insightful characterizations bring greater depth to Moss's nuanced and gripping novel... She's especially effective as Sylvie, whose internal dialogue is biting but whose spoken interactions are colored by fear of her father." — AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner
“I have never read a novel this slender that holds inside it quite so much. Wild, calm, dark yet hopeful, a girl with a smart-mouth narrates her own difficult history as well as that of Britain...This book ratcheted the breath out of me so skillfully that as soon as I’d finished, the only thing I wanted was to read it again.” — Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
“I stayed up half the night gulping down Sarah Moss’s slim, unnervingly tense novel. Ghost Wall has subtlety, wit, and the force of a rock to the head: an instant classic.” — Emma Donoghue, author of Room