Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2015. Shortlisted for the Independent Book Week Award 2016.
If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney - that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr. and Mrs. Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.
It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents.
No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is. I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn't stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget....
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By Kaggy on 30-10-2017
Dark disturbing and gloomily beautiful masterpiece
This is a real masterpiece of dark English gothic set on the bleak and isolated Lancashire coast. Everything about this story is slightly unhinged, including a teenage boy looking after his older mute and child like sibling, a pregnant child woman and a fierce and dominant mother berating her husband for coughing and the priest for not leading his flock according to her manical expectations. Listen out for the albino cat with eyes that look like they have been marinated in blood, the woman wearing a liver coloured dress and the bricked up room contains only a bed and children’s toys. From this alone you will glean that the author has an immensely visceral talent for describing the world.This is filled with a cast of oddball characters and enough shadowy damp intensity to keep you shivering throughout the winter months. I love this genre but it is very hard to find it done well. Rest assured that in this case the author succeeds magnificently in conjuring up a genuinely disturbing story that will surely become a classic on a par with M R James and H P Lovecraft. Full credit should go to the brilliant narrator who delivers a range of accents with great aplomb. This is a highly recommended listen an I urge you to choose this unabridged version. You really don’t want to miss a thing.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
By Celia on 13-03-2016
Haunting and thought provoking
The combination of a beautifully written, understated style of writing; haunting images and a superb narrator kept me listening when I should have been doing other things! Now that I am finished the book, I find that aspects of the story keep on flitting into my mind, and while I consider them, I realize that the book is much more multi-faceted than I expected. There is the gothic aspect, and some supernatural incidents that are hinted at by the genre of the book. Then there is the human drama of a community caught up in issues of faith and family. Finally, there is a hint of humour in the parochial characters. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy crime and thrillers, to those who appreciate the bizarre, and to those who enjoy books that question our basic values and religion.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful