Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss : review

★★★✰✰ 3 STARSUntitled drawing (5).jpg

I feel vaguely disappointed by this novella. While I can see that the majority of reviewers found this to be a moving and harrowing portrayal of abuse, I thought that—for the most past—this was a rather simplistic portrayal of an abusive parent.

The characters came across as very one-dimensional and yes, while I felt angry at Silvie’s father I also found him somewhat cartoonish. He seemed almost a caricature: misogynistic, racist, abusive. Everything he says and does corroborates to the image of a ‘bad man’. While I know that there are many people who fit all of those labels it seemed a bit easy for him to possess only negative qualities.
The mother seemed to belong to the 50s rather than the 90s. Again, she seemed the caricature of the victimised and self-effacing wife who does not bat an eyelash when her daughter (view spoiler). Yes, there are individuals who stand by and let their partners abuse their children but Silvie’s mother seemed conveniently stereotypical.
The other men were almost as bad. Stupid or blatantly blind to Silvie’s fathers disturbing behaviour.
While Silvie’s repression makes sense—given the way in which she was raised—it also made her very uninteresting and frustrating.
While the writing rendered some beautiful—and at times disturbing—landscapes, I found some metaphors to be a bit ‘trying’ and repetitive. I’m not sure why narratives of this kind are obsessed by pubic hair.
Overall, I think I might have preferred a shorter version of this story and while I wasn’t a ‘fan’ of this I look forward to trying something else by Moss.

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