Entertainment, Lifestyle, Manchester, Review

Book Review: The Ghost Who Bled

Off 41

Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online


By Jacqueline Grima


Writer and Manchester Writing School Lecturer Gregory Norminton has recently released a new book, The Ghost Who Bled. The book, published by Comma Press, is a witty and often highly moving collection of meticulously detailed short stories that span nearly twenty years of Norminton’s writing career, stories that take the reader on a journey not only across continents but also through time.

What is immediately striking about Norminton’s writing is the author’s ability to adapt his voice to the collection’s settings and characters. Stories in The Ghost Who Bled span the world and its cultures, the author taking us as far afield as Malaya and Japan before bringing us nostalgically back to the green Surrey of his childhood.

In Zero + 30, we meet the American husband of a woman who survived the Pol Pot regime of Cambodia. Returning to the country with his wife, he finds out the real motive behind her decision to marry him many years ago.

In Confessions of a Tyrant’s Double, a commoner’s likeness to a much revered, and perhaps reviled, president leads him to a life that is no longer his own. A prisoner of his own appearance – ‘my good looks did not belong to me’ – his only hope in ensuring his existence is not forgotten is to note down his experiences and hope them to be a read by a suspected snooper: ‘by your aid I have proved that I existed.’

In Bottleneck, a ‘flagrantly pregnant’ musician struggles with the concept of bringing a child into an already overpopulated near-future world. Here, we clearly see the battle between capitalism and creativity – ‘Is  it common for the Small Hall to have so many empty seats?’ – beautifully shown in the fatalist but practical attitude of Clare’s scientist  husband, her tendency to find refuge in music and, ultimately, in the conception of a baby despite strict precautions.

In what is probably the strongest story in the collection, The Ghost Who Bled, a ghostly young Japanese airman reflects on his life, watching from a distance the impact of the horrific nuclear bombing of his country. Unbearably lonely, he is unwilling to leave his life behind, hiding to watch his loved ones and longing to be part of their lives again. Why, we ask ourselves, is he so reluctant to move on?

Gregory Norminton’s writing is beautifully lyrical, yet, at the same time, completely concrete. The author not only describes Cambodia, Japan, Malaya, but picks his readers up and drops them in the very countries, villages, pasts and futures in which his stories are set.

The Ghost Who Bled is available now from Comma Press . To mark the launch of the collection, Gregory Norminton will be talking about his work at a series of events, including an appearance at Waterstones on Deansgate, Manchester on Friday 19th May at 6.30pm. The event is free to attend and refreshments will be available.

 

About the author / 

Jacqueline Grima
Jacqueline Grima

Jacqueline Grima is currently Student Editor-in-Chief of Humanity Hallows. She is also studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School. Her creative work has appeared in The Literary Commune and on Jacqui Bennett Writers' Bureau, Single Feather and Literally Stories websites. She was also shortlisted for the 2014 Luke Bitmead Bursary. Follow her on Twitter @GrimaJgrima

More News Stories:

  • Kourtney Kardashian announces collab with Manchester-born brand

    By Rebecca Monaghan Social media went into meltdown this morning as a PrettyLittleThing X Kourtney Kardashian collaboration was announced. The Manchester-born brand revealed to their 2.1million Instagram followers: “ANNOUNCEMENT. PrettyLittleThing by Kourtney Kardashian is coming. 26.10.17” – creating a flood of comments and tweets. ⚠️ANNOUNCEMENT⚠️ PrettyLittleThing by Kourtney Kardashian is coming 📸 26.10.17.⚡️ @kourtneykardash #PLTbyKourtney pic.twitter.com/4Mo6AGOwfm…

  • Michael Fassbender in The Snowman

    The Snowman review: “Safe to say it won’t last the winter”

    ★★☆☆☆ By Robert Milarvie The Snowman Director: Tomas Alfredson The Snowman promised so much – an A-list cast of Michael Fassbender (Shame), Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train) and J.K Simmons (Whiplash) within a ridiculous murder mystery plot. While the trailer presented an edgy return for the director responsible for excellent films such as Let The…

  • Preview: Lets Talk About Sex: 30 years of community activism in Greater Manchester

    By Grace Atkinson We have come a long way since the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, yet sexual health remains an integral part of the Manchester community. The stigma attached to sexual health means that not enough people talk about it, or have the right information to ensure safe sex. On Thursday 19th October, in…

  • 5 things I learnt at the Conservative Party Fringe meetings

    By David Keyworth Photography: Nguyen Bui Vu When I heard that the Conservative Party Conference was coming to Manchester Central, I felt a bit like a life-long vegan, told that McDonalds was holding a burger festival in Whitworth Park. Having previously done freelance reporting at the Labour Party Conference fringe, I was offered the same work…

Instagram Feed

1
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

Categories