In the aftermath of a rave in the mountains above Aberystwyth, a strange vision of a woman appears to three witnesses and sets into motion events that reverberate across the country. The people who live here already have their own demons - drink, drugs, domestic violence, psychoses - but each character has a different experience of this strange apparition. Emma, a single mother who suffers from anxiety and bouts of promiscuity; Adam, who is trying to stay off drugs; and Cowley, who is violent and haunted by memories of abuse, are all changed by what they’ve seen. Set in the charged days of a broiling post-referendum Welsh summer, Emma posts about the vision online and prompts a massive internet response, with people gathering at the site of the vision in search of something meaningful. All three main characters are slowly drawn back there, as the novel, with intensifying pace, reaches its menacing climax.
The epic new novel from best-selling author of Sheepshagger and Grits, Broken Ghost is an unflinching and nose-dive examination of the pain and loneliness that lies in the margins of society.
Broken Ghost is about what seeps out at the periphery when the centre is rotten, a novel that seethes with anger at austerity and Brexit and the way those at the edge of society are discarded and destroyed, even at the moment of their yearning for something more. At its best, it is a novel that intoxicates. But you had better be able to handle the hangover.
What triumphs in Broken Ghost is the treasurable ecstasy of its lyrical flights. Griffiths’ prose can explode into vatic communication with the Earth around us – it is a pantheistic celebration, a Dionysian prayer to organic life and decay. As well as a wry observer of human foible, Griffiths is a nature writer with a matchless eye for metaphor, whether he is looking at a dying sheep or a feeding dragonfly.