Entertainment, Lifestyle, Manchester, Review

Book Review: The Ghost Who Bled

Off 63

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 in her third year of 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. Her first novel will be released in 2018 with Manatee Books. Follow her on Twitter @GrimaJgrima

More News Stories:

  • Don’t Blame Jack: A short-film exploring self-love and acceptance

    By Pierangelly Del Rio 2017 saw the rise of acclaimed LGBT movies such as Call Me By Your Name, God’s Own Country and the award-winning Moonlight. Similarly, it was a winning year for mental health awareness with the #HereForYou and UOKM8? Inviting people to open up about their mental struggles and asking for support an…

  • The Lapsed Clubber Audio Map Launch at The People’s History Museum

    By JP Burns The Manchester rave scene was an internationally known cultural phenomenon through the 80s and 90s, with such famous icons and exports as The Hacienda, New Order, The Happy Mondays, Primal Scream and 808 State. Films like 24 Hour Party People and books like Dave Haslam’s Manchester, England have served as popular testaments…

  • Writer at Manchester Met Presents: Helen Mort’s “The Singing Glacier”

    By Grace Atkinson Award-winning poet Helen Mort, launched her new pamphlet The Singing Glacier this week, with a night of poetry and performance held at Manchester Metropolitan University. The event, hosted by the Manchester Writing School, was part of the Writers at Manchester Met series. Helen Mort is a lecturer of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan, as well as…

  • Partisan: A space owned by the people, for the people

    By Simran Sahiba Kaur Takhi Within a former synagogue and grade II listed building on 19 Cheetam Hill Road, lies the home of Partisan. Situated across two floors, Partisan is a diverse, cultural hub acting as a social space for events, festivals, and art workshops. As an independently owned communal space, the beauty of Partisan…

Instagram Feed

Cannot get other user media. API shut down by Instagram. Sorry. Display only your media.

Categories