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Ghost Town [Kindle Edition]

Catriona Troth
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

1981. Coventry, city of Two Tone and Ska, is riven with battles between skinheads and young Asians.
Photographer Baz—‘too Paki to be white, too gora to be desi’—is capturing the conflict on film.
Unemployed graduate Maia—serial champion of liberal causes—is pregnant with a mixed-race child.
Neither can afford to let the racists win. They must take a stand.
A stand that will cost lives.

"Ghost Town transported me back to a time (late 70's early 80's) when I was young and like a lot of my contemporaries found my life shaped by bigger events around us. It was an era when skin heads and racism led to many confrontations and a deep anger which was the catalyst of an exploration of identity and making a stand. I would not have entered the Theatre if it wasn't for those years and the coming together of many of us and the explosion of culture and music that has evolved and endured. Catriona captures these young hearts, full of hope and love and fight. I found myself rooting for Baz and Maia right the way through, and came away with my own memories and humming all the songs from The Specials."
Sudha Bhuchar, Artistic director of Tamasha; actor and playwright.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 412 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Piebald Publishing (8 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G6K9DQU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #376,926 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Catriona Troth was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada before coming back to the UK. She has now lived in the Chilterns longer than she has ever lived in anywhere, a fact that still comes as a surprise.

After more than twenty years spent writing technical reports at work and fiction on the commuter train, Catriona made the shift into freelance writing. She now writes a regular column for Words with Jam literary magazine, researches and writes articles for Quakers in the World and tweets as @L1bCat. She is very proud to be the latest member of the Triskele Books author collective.

Her writing explores themes of identity and childhood memory.

Her novella, Gift of the Raven, is set against a backcloth of Canada from the suburbs of Montreal to the forests of the Haida Gwaii.

Her novel, Ghost Town, is set in Coventry in 1981, when the city of Two Tone and Ska was riven with battles between skinheads and young Asians.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commendable and thought provoking... 19 Nov. 2013
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
In 1981, Coventry is a city in turmoil. Constant battles between skinheads and young Asians blight the environment and racial unrest festers in the city like an open wound. At the start of the novel, unemployed university graduate, Maia, is struggling to adjust to a life without her best friend, Ossie, who has returned to his uncertain future in South Africa. Drifting aimlessly, Maia has no real sense of purpose, but when she takes a temporary job at a homeless shelter, she comes into contact with the enigmatic, Baz, a mixed race photographer, who views this racial tension through the long lens of his camera. As she becomes a reluctant participant in this rebellious subculture, Maia begins to form a tentative relationship with Baz which will have repercussions throughout the whole of the story.

In Ghost Town, the simmering melting pot of racial disharmony comes powerfully alive. On the surface; it's a story about the menacing world of racial tension, and seems to concentrate on the sinister shifting of acceptable behaviour, and yet on searching closer, it is more of an inspection into the disintegration of moral standards. And even as the street gangs and hooligans rampage through the concrete jungles of the inner city, the heavy tread of Doc Marten boots and the verbal rattle of racial abuse can be heard echoing through the colourless buildings of shopping malls and empty precincts.

Without doubt Ghost Town is a fascinating novel. There is a subtle blend of realism and pragmatism which allows the story to evolve in such a way that despite its subject matter, it never becomes distasteful or inflammatory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars These were my teenage years 14 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must admit that I was drawn to Ghost Town because of its 2-Tone reference. However, Catriona Troth has captured a slice of glossed-over British history that seems particulary relevant now, not only in the wake of the recent riots, but also with the rise of the far right.

In 1981, I was a 14 years old and at the time of the Brixton Riots I shared a two-bedded hospital room with a 16-year-old boy who had been involved in them and had suffered a broken jaw. It seems highly inappropriate now, that I should have been paired off with a boy, let alone someone who knew he was going to arrested as soon as he was released. If I appear to be getting off the point, what I am trying to explain is that the news reported what was going on in London. I admit, there was a degree of excitement to being put in a hospital room with a 'rioter'. I was completely oblivious to what was going on only a three-hour drive away. The 2-Tone music that I loved then as I do now was all about racial harmony. I was unaware why it was so necessary and what had happenned in the City that gave life to it.

This book is challenging on several levels. Sometimes an uncomfortable read, it demonstrates the vital role of fiction in tackling serious issues, such as the threat that is perceived when the demographics of a city change rapidly, particularly at a time of high unemployment. It puts the reader in the shoes of two characters, Maia, white and pregnant with a mixed-race child, and Baz, who knows how it feels to be an outsider. He is of mixed-race, an interloper between the Asain community and his foster mother, Rebeccah, and manager of a night shelter for the homeless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative of time and place 15 Dec. 2013
By MadCow
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never been to Coventry but I feel that I could find my way around simply by having read this book. The city comes alive almost as a character itself. Also the time - early 80s - is evoked so well it brought back vivid memories of songs, of movements, of clothes, of the political spectrum.

Ms Troth has a terrific ear for voices and accents; her characters come fully formed off the page by the sheer virtuosity of her ventriliquism. She gives us an insight into a variety of different cultures and I never felt that her knowledge was superficial. She inhabits the worlds of her characters and shows us their strentghs, their weaknesses, their quirks.

If I have one criticism of this book, it is that it was over too soon. I would happily have read on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, complex, ambitious and subtle 30 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
"Ghost Town" by Catriona Troth recreates Coventry in 1981, where racial tensions bubbled up into hatred and violence. Maia, a young white graduate carrying a child by a black South African man, becomes the girlfriend of Baz, whose birth to a Sikh father and white mother ensures that his journey through this terrain is far from easy. Through this relationship, and working for Baz at the homeless shelter he runs, she finds herself in the thick of the city’s racial dynamics—albeit with occasional flickers of feeling like an outsider, which diminish with her growing comprehension. It becomes clear that no one person in any of the various intersecting racial/social/political communities (including skinheads, the police, arts venues, and the charitable homeless shelter) is really in control of events or has a bird’s-eye view of them, because these events are not only complex, but also fast-moving and driven by powerful hidden undercurrents that tend to erupt unpredictably into visibility. There’s also a sense of apprehensive uncertainty, where unexpected assailants can appear, unseen vandals smash windows and set fires, weaselly rabble-rousers are sometimes glimpsed gloating over the rabbles they’ve roused, and precious little reconciliation or understanding between opposing forces is possible. Read more ›
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