- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Point Blank (5 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780748205
- ISBN-13: 978-1780748207
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,726,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ghosts of the Desert (Point Blank) Paperback – 5 May 2016
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‘Like Lord of the Flies, this shows what happens to the psyche of individuals amongst gangs, and gives the audience plenty to think about’.(New Books)
‘The theme, setting and language evoke Cormac McCarthy at his most brutal, but Ghosts of the Desert is a neo-western epic of survivalism that deserves to be judged on its own merits’.(Irish Times)
‘An intensely compelling read full of muscular prose and characters who are, at once, cinematically vivid and entirely, scarily authentic. This book richly deserves and surely will find a wide, enthusiastic audience.’(Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain)
‘A courageous and essential writer.’(Ann Weisgarber, author of the award-winning The Personal History of Rachel DuPree)
About the Author
Ryan Ireland’s work has appeared in Fogdog Review, Seems and Writing on the Edge. In 2009, he was recognized by Glimmer Train as one of the 25 Best New Writers. His first novel, Beyond the Horizon, was published by Oneworld in 2015. He lives in Alpha, Ohio.
Top customer reviews
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All of my ideas were incorrect.
I’m going to be honest – even after reading the book I’m not quite sure what I would label the book. I see some have given it a horror label, yet I would not do such a thing. Old school Dean Koontz and Stephen King fall into that category. When a person says horror, I think of all the eighties books I love. I also see a science fiction label, but that is another label I would not give it. My idea of science fiction couldn’t be any more different to this book. I guess the fact that it has a fiction label is the best we’re going to get. Better yet, literary fiction. This is one of those books that makes you stop and think, that makes you consider the human condition.
I admit, it is not a full four star rating for me – but it is so close that I couldn’t round it down to three. Despite some misgivings about the book, it surpassed all expectations I had. I really do want to go into detail and tell you why this is the case, yet I fear I will end up giving away too much. To give away too much would be to spoil the book for you, and I have no wish to do such a thing.
However, I will try.
After heading into the desert on a research grant to study ghost towns, Norman finds himself pulled into a community that… well, it makes him stop and think. Their way of living is so different to what he knows. Their views are so far from what he is used to. Running is the most obvious of choices, and yet he has an odd compulsion to find out more. Despite knowing better, Norman wants to understand the community. Of course, things are never straightforward and there are many issues to be faced – issues of living in the desert, issues between those in and out of the community, and haunting thoughts of the life he left behind.
After all, Norman isn’t all you would believe him to be.
Told through flashbacks, we come to understand more about Norman and the life he lives. I admit, for me, this is where the book lost on the rating scale. I loved finding out about Norman, yet the chronology of the flashbacks really confused me. It worked… to a degree. Yet I couldn’t completely wrap my head around certain aspects and had to read back to make sure I had information right in my head. I believe, however, that this is my fault and not the author’s fault. I constantly find this to be the case. Even in books I love, when such a device is used I find myself less than pleased. In fact, such a thing stopped my favourite read of the year thus far from being a five star read. I simply dislike it when the chronology – within a single chapter, I should highlight – is absent.
Nevertheless, it was a surprisingly wonderful read and I’m glad I won it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is a tale about the dark side of human nature, and explores our capacity not only to create misery, but to endure it. I do not normally like this kind of book, and I only read it because I heard the author talk on the 45 Minute Radio Hour, and wanted to give a new author a chance. Kudos to Ryan for writing such a vivid and gripping tale, and one that left me satisfied despite my honest dislike of such dark and twisted fiction. I've been recommending this book heavily.