Ghost Wall

Sarah Moss

Published: 20 September 2018
Hardback, B Format
129x198mm, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781783784455

Other Editions


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Published: 6 June 2019
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781783784462

Ebook Available

About the author

Image of Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She is the author of four novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, Bodies of Light and Signs for Lost Children; and the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykjavik, and wrote an account of her time there in Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland (Granta 2012), which was shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2013. Her novel The Tidal Zone will be published by Granta in summer 2016. More about the author


‘'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'



‘[A] devastating novella’

‘[A] subtly chilling new novel [...] the brevity of Ghost Wall is deceptive about the novel's scope’ Rohan Maitzen

‘[An] intensely charged and menacing little book... Brief and entirely compelling Best Halloween Reads

Ghost Wall is a masterclass in the "less is more" style of writing, creating unbearable tension right up to the violent climax....Moss tackles patriarchy, misogyny and the abuse of power with understated skill, and collapses the millennia to reveal an eternal problem... Succinct and sublimeDoug Johnstone

Ghost Wall grabs you by the guts and never lets go. DazzlingElizabeth Day

Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss's sixth novel, is further proof that she's one of our very best contemporary novelists ... It's an intoxicating concoction; inventive, intelligent, and like no other author's work... beautifully evocativeLucy Scholes

[A] gripping and powerful work of fiction... Moss slowly ratchets up the tension... [and] handles it with a subtle and highly effective mixture of precision and ambiguity’ Roger Cox

A beautiful book...We will read it again and again for years to come until our copy is falling apart’

A masterful piece of writing that cements Moss's reputation as one of our best novelists...intensely immersive

A short, sharp shock of novel, set on a Northumberland dig in the 1980s, where ancient violence and contemporary abuse slowly collide to produce an act of singular horror... [this] is one of her best yet’ Claire Allfree

A small but powerful novel that will blow you awayStyle List: 29 brilliant books as chosen by Florence Welch’s book club

A spellbinding tale awaits within this slender novel’ Best books of the year selected by Susan Swarbrick and Teddy Jamieson

Exquisite... Moss has quietly, and it must be said remarkably quickly, been putting out some of the most interesting and carefully sculpted novels of recent years... [Ghost Wall] is her best novel yet... At a time in which we are thinking more closely than ever about questions of nationalism and tradition, about walls and what they signify, this is an important novel that wears its timeliness lightly

Grippingly eerie


I love this book. Ghost Wall requires you to put your life on hold while you finish it. It draws you into its unusual world and, with quiet power and menace, keeps you there until the very last page. Silvie's story isn't one you will ever forgetMaggie O'Farrell

Intense and menacing... The sort that's best read in one sitting’ Francesca Carington

Is Sarah Moss the best British writer never nominated for the Booker? ... [Ghost Wall is] as brief and unsettling as a bolt of lightning ... [it] pins us to the page with creeping menace’ Anthony Cummins

One of our foremost literary forensic anthropologists, excavating that which has long been covered over or covered up before realising it, newly realised, to the light of day... Moss's sensual writing recalls the late Helen Dunmore...’ Catherine Taylor

Outstanding... The realities of prehistoric living are viscerally evoked... Grave and sophisticated, lit by flashes of wry humour, this is a drama that excavates our deepest instincts’ Mary Miers

Sarah Moss stands out... It's writing that, along with vivid responses to the natural world and acute alertness to class, regional and sexual tensions, recalls the early fiction of DH Lawrence. It brings enriching complexity to this tale of escalating menace’ Peter Kemp

Slim but intensely powerfulBook of the Year selected by Justine Jordan

Slim but intensely powerfulJustine Jordan

Sobering and unforgettable

Stunningly good, a tightly written, powerful book about archaeology and Englishness’ Alex Preston

This divided country's most urgent novelist. Her themes: the cycles of history, male absurdity, the forms female subversion may take, in irony, sickness and sacrifice. It helps that she's absurdly topical, and that she's funny... Ghost Wall is the shorter, spikier companion piece to her previous novel The Tidal ZoneSelected by Daniel Swift as a book of the year

‘A masterful piece of writing that cements Moss's reputation as one of our best novelists... intensely immersiveSian Norris

‘A timely, tiny explosive package of a book... compelling’

‘A Brexity tale to send shivers down your spine... short, potentRebecca Rose

‘A tale of modern-day violence steeped in the shadow of prehistoric horror, will chill the soul...Moss expert at atmosphere, harnessing the very particular beauty of Northumberland in ways that are at once breathtaking and claustrophobicBook Chat Choice with Claire Allfree

‘A taut thriller, widely acclaimed as one of last year's best books

‘An intense and menacing book - the sort that's best read in one sitting... slim, unnervingBest New Books for Autumn

‘An amazing story ... disturbing and touching at the same time’ Maggie O'Farrell

‘At just 149 pages, [Ghost Wall is] a short, sharp shock of a book that closes around you like a vice as you read it... This story is tauter and tenser [than previous]: plot driven, time limited and entirely out of the ordinary... 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

‘Class and sexual tensions mount in a taut tale alive with intelligence and sensuousness’ Peter Kemp

‘Eerie and gripping’

‘I am so envious of people who can write novels and fill them with so much’ Jessie Burton

‘I'm a great fan of Sarah Moss's work; she combines poetic sensibility with great storytelling... Moss is brilliant on atmosphere’ John Boyne

‘If you need proof that good things come in small packages, look no further than Ghost Wall... dark and simmering... quickens its pace with every turn of the page, refusing to let you pause for breath until it reaches its alarming finale... atmospheric and earthy... vivid... it's a marvel that Moss has created such a rich tale in so few words’

‘Immerses you [...] and wont' let you go... Captivating

‘Moss is a sparse but evocative writer [and] in just 149 pages Moss does a remarkable job at building an engaging, textured world and Sylvie is a likeable heroine. You root for her - and she might just surprise you’ Susannah Butter

‘Moss is the author of a series of unsettling, beautifully strange novels and her latest [...] is no exception’

‘Moss' tale unfolds against a richly described natural landscape, where her interrogations of class, power and privilege reach an alarming crescendo’

‘Moss's finely balanced novel combines a strong sense of the natural world with a growing atmosphere of menace, interspersed with wry humour’ Anthony Gardner

‘Moss's brevity is admirable, her language pristine. This story lingers, leaving its own ghosts, but with important lessons for the future of idealising the past’ Sinéad Gleeson

‘Over a staggeringly short distance... Moss creates and manipulates an atmosphere of extreme tension... as the story edges towards its climax, Moss appears to collapse layers of history, to render skin and knife and rope identical across millennia. What provokes and perpetuates that capacity for harm, and what powers a mystical belief in its propitiatory value, remains eerily unclear, but no less urgent a concern for us than for our ghostly forebears’ Alex Clark

‘Overlooked by the prizes that deserve[s] wider readership: Sarah Moss's compelling tale of archaeology and toxic masculinity’ Alex Preston

‘Sarah Moss combines her research interests in food, place and material culture to good effect’ Lucy Whetman

‘Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall characteristically interweaves the distant past and the immediate present. The author has a gift for taking us back in time in a mixture of historical fiction, ghost story and sharp contemporary observation... Moss's feel for ancient landscape is keen, but it's always a relief in this narrative to sneak off to Spar with its multi-packs of Hula Hoops and fun-sized Mars Bars. Moss paces her story well’ Book of the Year selected by Margaret Drabble

‘Sarah Moss's concise, claustrophobic sixth novel concerns the perils of family life... Moss is very good at building empathy for Silvie through visceral, close-grained descriptions of nature... devastating... A sinister feeling hangs over Ghost Wall from the first chapter’

‘Stunned. I was blown away... definitely worth your time and a read...what a great story it is’

‘This book ratcheted the breath out of me so skilfully, that as soon as I'd finished, the only thing I wanted was to read it again’ Jessie Burton, author

‘Thrum[s] with sonorous contemporary resonance... extraordinary... shockingly tense... this is a beautifully-written novel that builds tension, suspense and uneasiness ... [Moss'] finest yet... breath-takingCharlie Connelly

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