Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Macmillan Audio Review of Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

I'm excited today to present my Macmillan Audio review of a haunting novella by Sarah Moss 

Ghost Wall
A Novel

By: Sarah Moss
Narrated by: Christine Hewitt
Length: 3 hrs and 48 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 01-08-19
Language: English
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Buy at: Audible


Southern Living Best New Book of Winter 2019; A Refinery29 Best Book of January 2019; A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at The Week, Huffington Post, Nylon, and Lit HubAn Indie Next Pick for January 2019

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.

Listen to a Sample-


“Ghost Wall has subtlety, wit, and the force of a rock to the head: an instant classic.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of Room

"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

A taut, gripping tale of a young woman and an Iron Age reenactment trip that unearths frightening behavior

My Review:

Ghost Wall
Sarah Moss 
Moss’s poignant, haunting and disturbing novella packs a punch in its short 144 pages. A study of human and inhuman nature and how little man has changed since he started walking upright both in his humanity and his brutality. It's also a look into the mind of an diabolical abuser who should be a protector and his cowering victims who think they’re the ones at fault when they’re violated.
The flawless narration by Christine Hewitt is unparalleled enhancing the emotions and in some cases the apathy of the characters giving her listening audience the chance to experience those emotions themselves resulting in an unforgettable intense personal encounter.
Seventeen year-old Silvie is familiar with the life and times of early Britons, it’s her father’s obsession and they have as a family often traveled to museums and historical places to see artifacts and where and how these ancient people lived and died, but they’ve never actually personally experienced it.  So when Silvie’s dad signs she her mom and himself up for an archeological reenactment led by a University professor who’s bringing along three of his students Silvie knows there’s no debating, what her dad says goes or else. For two weeks they will all live like the Britons of the Iron Age, hunting, fishing and foraging for edible herbs and plants, wearing itchy linen tunics and moccasins and using only the rudimentary tools available to these ancient Brits. Discussing the pagan beliefs and participate in some of the often brutal rituals, like the human sacrifices and erecting the Ghost Walls these people built to scare off the encroaching Roman Army. But Silvie also knows when living in such close quarters with these strangers it will be harder to hide the badges of her father’s brutality she and her mom wear while beginning to see that maybe how they live is not normal or healthy.
About the author:
Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. Her books include the novels Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light, and Signs for Lost Children and the memoir Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland. 
A shout out to Macmillan Audio for providing the audio copy in exchange for an honest review!


  1. That sounds like it would be a sort of emotional story going on there.

  2. The backdrop of early Briton history is cool, but sounds like there are real depths with the family dynamics.

    1. Yes to the early Briton history, It reminded me of the bog mysteries in Ireland I've read too

  3. Oh wow, now I want to read more about their history and devour this!

    1. I know it was really good, heartbreaking but good.

  4. This sounds like a story that rake you over the coals.

  5. I don't listen to audio reads, but this sounds like a really different type of read that I can sink my teeth into. Hugs...RO Happy National Goof Off Day! RO

    1. Oh No I got the message late and WORKED in the yard yesterday LOL