Thursday, 15 September 2016

Book Review - The Loney

Book Review - The Loney
By Andrew Michael Hurley

'Two Brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector.

Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure.

In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. They cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end...

Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother's care. 

But then the child's body is found. And the Loney always gives up                                                           its secrets, in the end.'

I picked this book up in Bristol airport while waiting for a place to Paris. I'd forgotten my own book and was perusing the shelves of the mini but incredibly packed WH Smith store looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, well, I found it. This little book is fantastic, completely unique and excellently written, I definitely recommend you give it a read.

The Writing - The Loney is written in the first person from the perspective of Hanny's brother. The text flows and reads well and Andrew builds suspense throughout the story, expertly posing subtle questions about the characters and setting the scene for the ending. Although when I first started reading I wasn't sure if I was going to get into it by the time I had finished a few chapter I was hooked, and by the end I couldn't put it down. The writing fully conveys the atmosphere of the book, imbuing the reader with a sense of unease and suspense that builds slowly but steadily throughout the story. Dialogue is used frequently and I think very well, the multitude of conversations the characters have help to not only give the reader a more in depth understanding of the characters themselves but also their relation to each other. The group has several interesting tensions and these are subtly introduced and expanded upon throughout the dialogue used in the story.

The Plot - The plot of this story is fascinating and while I want to write a good review I really don't want to give too much away because I really think you should read the book! Suffice to say that the plot of this story is in some parts simple, yet in others intensely complex. The main story line follows two brothers, their parents, a small group of their friends, and their pastor on a pilgrimage of types to The Loney, where they are subject to a series of disturbing events that occur during their stay. There are several subplots that run parallel to the main plot and these explore the difficult topics of human tensions, belief and faith. In this way this book is quite profound, Andrew displays a brilliant understanding of human nature and the need or desire to believe above all else, and his book poses many questions about the nature of the human mind. He is not afraid to explore the dark and ugly side of human thinking throughout his writing and this book displays a realism that I find both refreshing and admirable.  

The Characters - The characters in this book are used extremely well to create a unique sense of tension and unease. They are an interesting set of characters, each with their own problems and ideas, and the tensions that run between them are subtly explored throughout their actions and dialogue. There is a relatively small cast of characters but each one is very important and adds to the story in their own way. The relations, bonds and tensions between them give the story depth and in many ways the book is an exploration of human nature and the need for belief. Each of the characters presented in this book are written fully, they are real, tangible people with full, interesting personalities and flaws. 

The Observer said that; 
'This is a novel of the unsaid, the implied, the barely grasped or understood, crammed with dark holes and blurry spaces that your imagination feels compelled to fill.' 

And I totally agree. This book is dark and mysterious and fascinating, and the way it is written sends your imagination racing to explore and explain. The reality of the characters, the events, the parts said, and the parts left unsaid, left me mulling over this story for weeks.
In my opinion this is not a book to be missed.

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