Farrar. Jan. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780374105938. $25. F
At a rustic Scottish resort where an assortment of families are spending a summer vacation, the incessant rain has kept everyone mostly cooped up inside, and each chapter offers a stream-of-consciousness perspective on events from a different vacationer. We follow everyone from small children to frustrated teenagers to parents and partners as they cook, play, have sex, and venture outside for a jog or a paddle on a kayak. They observe and comment on their own family dynamics and notice others at the resort, sometimes critically. The subject of almost universal derision is a Ukrainian family who keep everyone else awake with their nightly loud parties. Despite the boredom and frustration, coupled with a lack of WiFi, it rarely occurs to anyone to reach out and connect outside their family circle until a tragic event at the end.
VERDICT Moss (Ghost Wall) seems to be commenting on the disconnect and isolation of modern life, though the vacationers’ travails can make for dreary reading. The campers have a perfect opportunity to form community but fail to do so, while the Ukrainians, whose othering Moss highlights by not providing their viewpoint, seem to be the only campers who embrace enjoyment of life.
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