Book review: Ghosts

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Ghosts is written by award-winning author and journalist Dolly Alderton.

“32-year-old Nina Dean is a successful food writer with a loyal online following, but a life that is falling apart. When she uses dating apps for the first time, she becomes a victim of ghosting, and by the most beguiling of men. Her beloved dad is vanishing in slow motion into dementia, and she's starting to think about ageing and the gendered double-standard of the biological clock.

“On top of this she has to deal with her mother's desire for a mid-life makeover and the fact that all her friends seem to be slipping away from her… Dolly Alderton's debut novel is funny, tender and painfully relatable, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships and the way we live today.” – Penguin Random House

Review from bubble. magazine’s editor Claudia Siron:

“The title is perfect, as there’s ghosts all around Nina – the ‘ghosting’ online, her father vanishing from his old self, her friends slipping away, and so on. The ever-so relatable line-up of characters carry substance and edge, making it an easy read but with bite. Although there are waves of uncomfortable moments with the string of darker themes, the writing most certainly provides a sharp and witty touch for comical relief. A very clever book!”

Other reviews:

“I love this book. It is wise, funny, tender and true, sharply-observed and utterly hilarious. Alderton's gift is always to give the mundane its beautiful due and in Ghosts, she manages to write a compulsively readable novel about modern dating that also examines the stories we tell ourselves about home, identity and gender. Like all the best writers, she wears her talent lightly, but be in no doubt: Dolly Alderton's talent is phenomenal.”

Elizabeth Day

“No doubt Nina’s sharp-eyed observations on these zeitgeisty issues will remind many of Alderton’s bestselling memoir Everything I Know About Love and the conversations on her The High Low podcast. In Ghosts, the social commentary is often showcased in satirical set pieces where, occasionally, slightly laboured jokes undermine the overall comic force.

“Nevertheless, these comic turns often made me chuckle: the depiction of a hen do dominated by a passive-aggressive maid of honour is brilliant. The subsequent wedding with the best man’s speech delivered by a “childhood friend who, regrettably, was in an improv group in his spare time which explained the numerous wigs and props that he used [in his] rambling anti-anecdotes” is sharply done too.

The Guardian Australia (Michael Donkor)

About the author:

Dolly’s debut novel is funny, tender and painfully relatable, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, aging, memory, dating, friends and how we live now. Dolly is a columnist for The Sunday Times, has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. She co-hosts the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low alongside journalist Pandora Sykes.