A Ghost Story
by Gabriel Smith
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Pub Date 6 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 6 May 2024
Simon and Schuster UK, Scribner UK
Gabriel’s skin is falling off.
His dad is dead.
He owes his editor a novel.
His girlfriend won’t answer his calls.
Tasked by his horribly well-adjusted brother with clearing out the family home for sale, Gabriel’s sanity quickly begins to unravel. His parents’ old manuscripts appear to change each time he reads them. A bizarre home video hints at long-buried secrets. And there’s a hideous man in the garden.
From a stunningly original new talent, this is a debut novel unlike anything you have read.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 11 members
Gabriel is struggling. His father has passed away, he hasn't started his new novel yet, and his skin is peeling off. He is falling apart mentally and physically. Brat is an extremely well written book, sometimes horror, sometimes comedy, sometimes both. It is not afraid to take risks in telling the story and letting the reader figure out what's real and what is not.
“When someone dies it becomes a competition to be in charge of the history of that person. People want their memory to be the real one.”
Gabriel Smith’s debut novel is about a man who loses his father and is struggling with his his passing. Along with trying to cope with this grief he has broken up with his girlfriend, he has failed to write his second novel that he has promised is almost finished and his skin has been peeling off in sheets. He’s living in his childhood home so he can clear it out for it to be sold. However the house is also falling apart.
This novel was not what I had expected. It’s main focus is on the character of Gabriel and how he is coping with his life that is seemingly falling apart. Told mainly through his perspective, his struggles with grief are explored through his unusual experiences. His family is full of creatives and he soon discovers his mother and father’s manuscripts and VHS tapes where they appear to change everytime he goes back to them. This indicate to his brother that he is losing his mind.
The author makes great work in intensifying Gabriel’s emotions through the unravelling of his mind. The imagery of his skin peeling isn’t the only instance of horror in this story. The way the manuscripts are read and the VHS tape is played with the visions and strange people he sees, that sense of losing ones sanity intensifies.
At times it became more than just a horror or ghost story, there are several parts of dark humour that helped explain the dynamics of the family and the course Gabriel is on before he realises what is happening to him.
An interesting and entertaining novel a lot of you would enjoy.