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Sarah Moss Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Cold Earth (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Night Waking (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bodies of Light (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Signs for Lost Children (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tidal Zone (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ghost Wall (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Scott's Last Biscuit (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Frozen Ship (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Chocolate (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Spilling the Beans (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Names for the Sea (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sarah Moss is an English author of nonfiction, literature and fiction books best known for her 2018 novel the Ghost Wall. She is an award-winning and bestseller author of six novels Night Waking, Cold Earth nominated for the 2011 Fiction Uncovered Award, and The Tidal Zone shortlisted for the Welcome Prize Award.

Born in Glasgow, Sarah relocated to Manchester where she spent her childhood and later left for Oxford at the age of eighteen. She spent the next ten years in Oxford studying Masters of Studies and D.Phil in English Literature. Sarah Moss became a published author in 2005 when Scott’s Last Biscuit, a nonfiction book was published. In 2009, she co-authored with Alexander Badenoch in writing non-fiction titled Chocolate.

Night Waking

Imagine Rachel Cusk and Peter May wrote a novel together, with some bits of help from Sarah Waters? Night Waking is that novel. The story has baby skeletons from Hebridean Islands; a half-crazed mother, a two-year-old who can’t sleep through the night, and letters from a 19th-century nurse.

We meet Anna Benet, trying to finish a book about 18th-century childhood and spending summer on the Hebridean Island with her two children. Her husband Giles works as an ornithologist and is the owner of the small island inherited from his father. The island has been in the family line since the 1830s and now almost completely deserted except for Giles family and the guests who visit the black house Giles had converted to a holiday let. Anna’s days are characterized by endless baby wrangling, and she hasn’t slept a full night for two years spending her time tending for one child or the other.

Night Waking primarily focuses on modern parenting, motherhood, love, and ambition. The heroine, Anna is desperate to meet the needs of her children and also advance her academic career and is resentful of her husband’s freedom and at the same time helplessly bound to her two children unable to spend time away from them. Sarah Moss plays her heroine’s point of view for both the comic and for the tragedy but with great skill. She skillfully unpicks the heroine’s delicate mental state slowly.

Anna’s story also features counterpoint narrative in the form of letters written by May Moberly a 19th-century nurse sent to the Colsay by Giles ancestors to combat infant mortality which was almost 100% during that time. She finds a community alien to her career, who doesn’t welcome her. It’s May’s presence in the book that a sinister past is revealed. Anna unearths the remains of a newborn in the garden, and this prompts her to investigate.

Ghost Wall

Sarah Moss is always strongly interested in isolation and bodies and in her previous novel, Tidal Zone, the author, vividly portrayed the effects on a family after a teen daughter is felled by an acute physical malfunction that she survives, but may recur with fatal effects. In her seventh novel, Ghost Wall, Sarah is again drawn to a teenage girl although this time the girl is robust but the ambiguities and vulnerabilities provide enough opportunity for the girl to explore the thin lines between outer and inner selves, dysfunction and function.

For authors, there are two main paths to a place in the literary heaven. The first involves publishing a novel, in most cases a debut that burst in a blaze and the author gains popularity by it. The second path is much slower, less sensational and also quieter but perhaps it’s more sustainable. It’s very easy to identify authors who’ve taken the second path once they reach the hall of fame, but the real trick here is identifying them before they get there. If you’re wondering which writer will reach the fame point next, its Sarah Moss, she has previously published novels and memoirs that have been shortlisted for the various award but not bagged a major award.

Back in 2011, her second fiction novel, Night Waking was a major hit amongst sleep-deprived parents. It’s evident that the author has built her reputation book by the book at a steady pace, but she is yet to climb into the hall of fame. This was evident in her 2018 novel Ghost Wall which was a hit across the literary world. Ghost Wall is set in the hot week of summer towards the end of the 20th century. We meet a 17-year old girl, Silvie and her parents on a camping expedition with Professor Slade and other students in rural Northumberland.

For the next few days, they plan to live the lives as ancient Britons, dressing in tunics, foraging for food, and observing all Iron Age rituals. Silvie’s dad, Bill is a historian by night and a bus driver by day. He is a man passionate about the past and has self-taught himself all survival skills that the students are required to acquire, a reason he’s been invited along. It becomes clear that the ideological purity through which Bill approaches the expedition doesn’t please the professor and the students. As his disapproval becomes evident, so the does tension sour up.

Ghost Wall is set a few miles of the countryside which the small group transverses endlessly in search of food. The author describes the locality richly such that the reader gets to know every pool, every path, and every bilberry patch. The author also through her evocative writing gives the readers a sense of what it would mean to live in a world that our ancestors lived a thousand years ago. But besides giving us a vivid description of the landscape and everything good about it, Sarah Moss is also quick enough to reveal to us the skull hidden beneath the skin, and remind us of the violence that our ancestors had to endure. It’s violence that Bill welcomes, and as the pages turn, the author reveals to the reader more about the practice of domestic abuse and iron age sacrificial rituals.

The real virtue of Ghost Wall deeply resides in the author’s ability to carry the readers and lead them to step by step to a shattering conclusion. Overall, Ghost Wall is a glazed gem, brief and an exciting work of fiction.

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