Title: Ghost Wall
Author: Sarah Moss
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 144
This is a strange little book about abuse, social isolation, and mob mentality that reminded me a little bit of a feminist Lord of the Flies. Seventeen-year-old Sylvie and her mother are the victim of her father’s cruelty, and things escalate when he takes them into the wilderness with a college professor and some students to reenact ancient Britons. Sylvie befriends a college student named Molly and starts having romantic feelings for her, but the family violence escalates until dark historical events begin to become all too real.
I liked Sylvie’s character and how she tried her best not to let her dad’s mistreatment break her, and how she managed to be both strong and vulnerable at the same time. I also really enjoyed the book’s atmosphere, and the way you feel like you’re there with the characters with the sweat and the heat and limited modern commodities.
I did find certain elements somewhat misandrist, which bothered me a little bit- all the male characters portrayed in an overwhelmingly negative light and female characters (especially Molly) make a lot of blanket statements criticizing men. The beginning of the book immediately grabs your attention and although the ending was a little bit abrupt, I liked the note the author decided to finish it on. This was the first book I read by Sarah Moss and I’m definitely interested in reading more by her, and I think this novel would probably make a great independent film.