The Ghostlights by Gráinne Murphy: A rural Irish family on the edge

The author’s second novel concerns life, death, religion and control – or the lack of it

Gráinne Murphy: Her novel has enough depth to make for a satisfying read

Gráinne Murphy: Her novel has enough depth to make for a satisfying read

Earlier this year, when Gráinne Murphy’s short story Further West was longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, she wrote: “I am endlessly interested in family … and in identity, those moments where we have to stare life down and choose who it is we want to be.” As a manifesto, it applies perfectly to her second novel, a story of a family at a moment of reckoning. 

The Ghostlights is a three-hander, with the perspectives of mother Ethel and twin sisters Liv and Marianne guiding us along. Marianne has returned to her hometown after a dispute with her other half. Liv has been holding down the fort since their father’s death: managing the family B&B, looking after her teenage son and trying to keep Ethel’s alcohol-based coping methods under control. 

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.