Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton
1 October 2021
When I first heard the term ghosting, almost ten years ago, it referred to leaving social gatherings without saying goodbye to anyone present, even the host. A person might mutter they were going outside to make a “quick phone call” as a pretext for leaving the room, and bang, they were gone. While ghosting’s context is wider today, it is most commonly applied to situations where someone abruptly ends an intimate relationship, without warning or explanation.
It is a phenomenon that strikes thirty-something Nina, a successful food writer, with everything going for her, in Ghosts (published by Penguin Books Australia, July 2021), the second book by London based journalist and author Dolly Alderton. While her friends are marrying and settling down with families, single Nina feels left behind until she meets Max, the man who seemingly has it all, and wants – so he says – to make a life with her.
But minutes after declaring their love for each other, Max vanishes without a trace. He doesn’t offer a goodbye, nor any reason for breaking off the relationship. But when Nina goes looking for support from her friends and family, no-one’s there. Her friends are distracted by their children, her mother is busy making a new life for herself, while her father is tragically slipping into the mist of dementia.