A deeply affecting and unconventional love story, shot through with anger, black humour and grief.
One ordinary morning, Laurie's husband Mark vanishes, leaving behind his phone and wallet. For weeks, she tells no one, carrying on her job as a cleaner at the local university, visiting her tricky, dementia-suffering father and holing up in her tower-block flat with a bottle to hand. When she finally reports Mark as missing, the police are suspicious. Why did she take so long? Wasn't she worried?
It turns out there are many more mysteries in Laurie's account of events, though not just because she glosses over the facts. At the time, she couldn't explain much of her behaviour herself. But as she looks back on the ensuing wreckage - the friendships broken, the wild accusations she made, the one-night stand - she can see more clearly what lay behind it. And if it's not too late, she can see how she might repair the damage and, most of all, forgive herself.
Unnerving, absorbing . . . Ashworth's setting is a small unnamed northwestern university city . . . a clever, gripping, refreshingly urban setting for a novel that plays with tropes from not just ghost stories but also murder mysteries . . . The mentally restless Laurie is a miraculous creation, somehow managing to be both a not entirely reliable narrator and yet solidly sympathetic. Piercingly human and darkly funny, Ghosted is a tender, beautifully controlled account of expectations knocked off course. -- Patricia Nicol * Sunday Times * Since her 2009 debut A Kind of Intimacy, Jenn Ashworth has been quietly collecting honours for her distinctive, empathetic and sharply observed novels, of which Ghosted is another . . . She writes powerfully and movingly about lives shaped by need, love and loss, as well as the solipsism of ferocious grief. -- Stephanie Cross * Daily Mail * Ghosted is fresh, darkly funny and exceptionally moving . . . Ashworth folds grief and anger and love into every line. -- Claire Fuller, author of <i>Unsettled Ground</i> (April 2021) Ghosted is deeply unsettling - Laurie is such a believable complex person, I couldn't look away from her life. It's also just so utterly compelling and funny. The writing is impeccable and the dark heart of the novel is uncomfortably human and relatable. -- Evie Wyld, author of <i>The Bass Rock</i> (April 2021) Dark, funny, thrilling and deeply human, Ghosted is a book that will haunt you forever, and you'll be glad. Jenn Ashworth is a master of modern storytelling. -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of <i>Adults</i> (April 2021) Ghosted is a marvellous novel; thrumming with the absences and presences that can haunt a life, and shot through with flashes of great sadness and joy. If you don't know Jenn Ashworth's work already - which you should - this is a great place to start. -- Jon McGregor, author of <i>Reservoir 13</i> (April 2021) Ghosted perfectly captures the claustrophobia of living in your own mind. Ashworth's writing is both acerbic and insightful. She has created a protagonist who is as flawed and as interesting as most memorable people are. -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of <i>Starling Days</i> (April 2021) A vivid, blackly funny and heartbreaking portrait of a marriage and the tiny and large hurts within it, how they wear at us and haunt us despite everything, but I found it beautifully hopeful too. -- Sophie Mackintosh, author of <i>The Water Cure</i> (April 2021) There are dark and alluring undercurrents to everything that Jenn Ashworth produces, and she has a brilliantly uncanny ability to unnerve at every turn. To me, her psychologically driven work ranks alongside such singular spiritual ancestors as Muriel Spark, Jean Rhys and Shirley Jackson. -- Benjamin Myers, author of <i>The Offing</i> (April 2021) This is a book to bring hope. -- Sarah Franklin (April 2021)