Books · Read in 2023 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: A Ghost in the Throat (Doireann ní Ghríofa)

I missed a little bit of connection in the end

★★★☆☆ 3/4 – CALSPIE 7.56

Title: A Ghost in the Throat
Author: Doireann ní Ghríofa
Narrator: Siobhán McSweeney
 Non-Fiction / Memoir / Essays / Biography
First published: 2020
Edition: Paperback, published by Tramp Press in 2020

In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its parallels with her own life, and sets out to track down the rest of the story. A devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another’s.


It took me a while to compile my thoughts on this one as I feel quite conflicted. On one hand there was the writing, which I really liked and also the research into Eibhlín Dubh Ni Choniall, which I found really interesting, but there were also passages where I completely lost interest.

It started out really engaging and I was hanging onto every word for the first third of the book, but after that I found my attention waver more often than it should. I no longer felt as connected to the author and I just did not find it as interesting.

Still, there were passages where she was able to pull me back in, especially when she talks about her research into this female poet, whose prose the author is painstakingly translating from Irish to English. her almost obsessive connection to this poet is the most interesting aspect of this book for me. The more personal bits were sometimes interesting, but sometimes felt superfluous.

I did like how it focused on the female narrative, emphasizing how it is exactly that female narrative often gets left out history. There is no deying the writing is beautiful and poignant and I really enjoyed the narration of the audio book. Especially hearing the old poems by Eibhlín Dubh in their original Irish form was a nice touch.

I am happy I read this one and I am sure I will think about it in the future, but it is not one I am likely to read again.

3.75 out of 5 stars



  • Characters: 8
  • Ambience: 7.5
  • Language: 9
  • Story: 7
  • Pacing: 7
  • Interest: 7.5
  • Enjoyment: 7

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