Ghosted: A Love Story (Hardcover)

Ghosted: A Love Story Cover Image

Ghosted: A Love Story (Hardcover)

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* SHORTLISTED FOR THE PORTICO PRIZE 2022 *

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.

Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 her second, Cold Light, was published by Sceptre and she was chosen by BBC's The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. Her most recent novels, The Friday Gospels and Fell, were published to resounding critical acclaim. She has also written a memoir, Notes Made While Falling. She lives in Lancaster with her husband, son and daughter.
Product Details ISBN: 9781529336764
ISBN-10: 1529336767
Publisher: Sceptre
Publication Date: January 25th, 2022
Pages: 304
Language: English
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

From her debut novel, A Kind of Intimacy, Ashworth's work has explored physical discomfort, violence and sexual misadventure. She writes explicitly of physicality and its often petrifying opposite - disembodiment. There are moments in Ghosted that are at once terrifying and blackly humorous . . . an impressive reminder of the uneasy silence reverberating on the other side of grief.—Catherine Taylor, Guardian

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

Ghosts, buried trauma and lingering absences suffuse this darkly funny and compelling novel.—Francesca Carington, Tatler

A revelatory portrait of a marriage. Although Laurie is acerbic and funny, this is an immeasurably sad read, aching with the unacknowledged grief of a complicated couple who have lost more than they can say.—Eithne Farry, Daily Mirror

A brilliant 21st-century take on the Gothic: a woman, whose husband just vanishes, is left to the frantic silence of abandonment and virtual reality's eerie twilight. A seriously gifted writer surely due a big prize.—Conor O'Callaghan, Irish Times

Raw, darkly comic and moving—Best

Stunning . . . Ghosted is a séance disguised as a novel.—Andrew Gallix, The London Magazine

Ashworth's writing is often referred to as "unnerving" and I wonder if that's because of her immense talent for honing in on our deepest fears.—Emma Yates-Badley, Northern Soul

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)

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)

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 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)

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)

Tender, rude, funny, sad, moving, thrilling, heartbreaking, devastating. Perfect.—Lucy McKnight Hardy, author of <i> Water Shall Refuse Them</i> (June 2021)

Praise for Jenn Ashworth's last novel, FELL: 'A disturbing, precisely rendered tale of charisma, misplaced faith and transgenerational trauma, with a touch of the supernatural . . . [it] brings to mind the claustrophobic, suburban world of Dennis Potter's great play Brimstone and Treacle.' - Alex Clark, Spectator

Headily atmospheric and luminously written. Ashworth's narrative is packed with the pungent smells of the sea and decay . . . her pages are threaded with original, arresting images . . . not many writers could bind the supernatural and the literary with such lightness of touch—Sunday Times

Ashworth's gift for capturing the quirky ordinariness of life is as sharp here as it is in her previous novels . . . Dark, compelling, beautifully written, Fell adds another powerful story to the mythology of our strange hinterlands.—Guardian

A beautifully written book which cleverly blurs fantasy and realism.—Daily Mail

Despite the ethereal narrators, the book's triumph is in the corporeal, the ache of the mundane, the beauty of small things. The characters have a poetry of the ordinary - a brokenness reminiscent of Alan Bennett that makes them flesh and blood.—Irish Times

There's magic in this Lancashire-set novel . . . Atmospheric [and] empathic—Lady

This marvellous novel is both haunted and haunting, as Ashworth expertly blurs the boundaries between the past and the present, the homely and the uncanny, the quick and the dead. Touching on profound questions of myth, mortality and redemption, it is both sinister and beautiful - and ultimately tender.

Eerie and lyrical - prepare to be haunted by this innovative novel.