Socialist Worker

Ghosts is a good read that can’t quite ditch the cliches

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2731

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton


Approaching her 32nd birthday, Nina Dean has pretty much got her life together. She has a newly-bought flat in north London, a food writing job she loves and a brilliant group of friends.

But then, after being persuaded to “put herself out there”, she tries to find a relationship using online dating platform Lynx.

Although the formula is a well trodden one, Ghosts is an enjoyable read, and it’s relatable.

The title comes from the practice of “ghosting”—where people in casual relationships simply disappear without warning.

Anyone caught in the endless Tinder cycle of swiping and going on uninspiring dates in expensive pubs can recognise the moments of enjoyment and frustration.

But it never quite steps out of an easy breezy romcom-esque pace. It’s a shame that author Dolly Alderton isn’t given more space to say the more interesting things. A lot of time is given over to pouring scorn on women holding expensive hen parties, for instance.

But something I would have loved to hear more about is how Nina deals with her dad’s rapidly developing dementia.

Here, Nina blames her mother for how she looks after him, and is at her ugliest but also her most real as a character.

Mother of two Katherine, and perennially single Lola, are characters of the apparently two life directions women go in during their thirties.

It sails uncomfortably close to tropes at times. It’s painstakingly pointed out time and again that Katherine, with her house in Surrey, wants more freedom.

Meanwhile, yoga and brunch-loving Lola craves the security of a long term relationship.

Ghosts is an enjoyable look at the ties that can bind us, and how easily—and traumatically—these can be severed.

And it’s probably more satisfying to read than the prospect of spending a few hours looking for a Lynx date of your own.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is out now

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Reviews
Mon 16 Nov 2020, 14:06 GMT
Issue No. 2731
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