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The Crack Magazine


Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Like every other twenty-something literature graduate, I loved Everything I Know About Love, so I was excited to read Ghosts. Unfortunately, it was a case where everything Alderton’s debut novel does, her memoir did better. The protagonist, Nina, is a thirty-something woman exploring the world of online dating.  Alderton perfectly describes the excitement of falling for someone and the anxiety when they draw away, and as a fan of her first book, this wasn’t a surprise to me: she is great at capturing universal experiences, and her portrayal of life as a single woman in her thirties is the book’s biggest appeal. The problem with Ghosts is that it tells you what to think about the hollowness of modern romance instead of showing it by telling the story. There’s a lack of trust in the reader — and in the author’s own skill — to understand the moral without the narrator spelling everything out. On the nose writing feels more acceptable in a memoir, but when translated to fiction, it falls a bit flat. While this is an enjoyable read, you’re unlikely to take anything new away from it. MG

Published by Penguin