[The Loney] EBOOK / KINDLE
With uestions of faith in an age of eroding belief How lucky I was to have found The Loney Andrew Michael Hurley s first novel His book is all the things listed above and The novel is set in Lancashire in the north of England on a desolate stretch of beach called The Loney where a wild and useless length of English coastline features the dead mouth of a bay that filled and emptied twice a day where the tide could come in uicker than a horse could run and every year a few people drowned It is 1975 and this Holy Week as in each preceding Holy Week a London working class family Mummer Farther and their two sons Hanny and Tonto accompanied by a few friends and their parish priest have come to make a pilgrimage to the local shrine of St Anne They come to fast to pray to confess their sins and to look for God in the emerging springtime that when it came was hardly a spring at all Above all they come certainly Mummer comes to ask for a miracle Hanny now an adolescent still cannot speak and communicates only with signsHis younger brother Tonto is our narrator We follow him and Hanny as they explore the Loney and he tells us a tale which involves one power struggle and at least three mysteries The power struggle is between Mummer and young Father Bernard whom she thinks lacks proper respect for the rigors of ancient ritual not like Father Wilfred the former pastor god rest his soul The three mysteries 1 what are the secrets of the old house where they are staying 2 what is behind the apparent healings among the Lancashire locals and 3 what if anything has this to do with the sketchy couple and the pregnant young girl who occupy the house across the bayThe answers to these uestions are often unsettling and occasionally horrific But as we see Father Bernard s faith in action and how it differs from Mummer s and Father Wilfred s as we begin discover the powerful and primitive beliefs of the people of the Lancashire countryside we are drawn as Tonto and Hanny are drawn into uestioning the nature of belief itself and our own relationship to faithHighly recommended I struggled with this story I was never uite sure where it was going or why it was going there I felt I should have been on edge than I was and shocked than I actually felt It was dark but not disturbing enough to really shock me and it tiptoed around the edges of what was actually happening so that I came away wondering what I d actually just read about Not really to my taste It begins with the discovery of a child s body Smith is the narrator of The Loney He is looking back on events from his childhood and they are presented with all the innocence of the time and non of the hindsight of the adult Drenched in atmosphere and relentlessly bleak the Loney is an isolated ominous and foreboding part of the northern coast where the incessant rain never stops The book draws on some of the best in gothic literature in its storytelling Smith who looks after his mute and numerously learning disabled brother Andrew are part of a Catholic pilgrimage They are accompanied by their parents of whom Mummers looms particularly large a newly appointed priest Father Bernard and others Mummers is convinced that Andrew will be cured The conviction in faith and ritual that underlies the tale and where it falls short is what drives the book The group are staying at the Moorings owned by a taxidermist which has its own secretsMummers is less than happy with the new younger priest who is accommodating in his faith The previous zealous ritual obsessed priest Father Wilfred is now mysteriously dead leaving behind uestions As the boys play they come across a
PREGNANT TEENAGE GIRL WHO INTRIGUES THEMteenage girl who intrigues them locals are less than welcoming and Smith finds himself eavesdropping on conversations An unsettling atmosphere of menace pervades throughout I was particularly enamoured of the relationship between the two brothersThe author writes in beautiful lucid prose He trusts the reader to pick up parts of the story and take it where they will particularly the ending Those who are uncomfortable with ambiguity might find this frustrating Mummers aspirations for her boys are doomed for disappointment However I was not disappointed with the book it beguiles and captures the reader in an unforgettable story that is of its time the 1970s and specifically the place the Loney An absolute delight to read and savour Cannot recommend it enough Many thanks to John Murray Books for an ARC This shining star of a book has been so thoroughly praised I feel like a heretic in raising my lonely voice in disagreement Let me start though with what I enjoyed about The Loney Firstly Andrew Hurley s prose is lucid and visual evocative of the scenes he is describing to the extent that I felt unusually present in the narrative His characters are thoroughly well drawn and that s no easy accomplishment in a multi character novel like this He also manages to engender from the beginning an air of heart rate raising uneasiness It s a little like going to a horror movie you now nothing about You Something More Than This know something s going to happen you re just not sure what In my opinion it is these two elements that carry you along in spite of rather than because of the plot By the time I was about half way through The Loney I was begging to lose patience with the fact that little had actually happened Others will no doubt take the view that the first half of the book is necessary to the building of character Iind of go along with this particularly as the characters are entirely and in some cases painfully believable However I still get the impression that the book would have benefited from a rather ruthless editor with a big red pen There were too many plot threads that went undeveloped for my liking What *did the existence of rifle actually contribute What was the benefit to the *the existence of rifle actually contribute What was the benefit to the of the narrator being able outrageously to listen in on the confessions of his parents and others At 320 pages and over 100000 words the book could have beneficially been tightened to nearer 250 pages and therefore maybe 80 90000 words the book could have beneficially been tightened to nearer 250 pages and therefore maybe 80 90000 said the last 100 pages or so were a mostly well crafted joy The plot pace increased significantly the characters remained important to me the scenes etched on my visual cortex Unfortunately though the denouement when it came seemed piecemeal short on power and failed to answer too many of my remaining uestionsI suspect this review will attract me my fair share of hate mail well maybe not literally but my honest opinion is that this is still a novel in draft that would have benefited from a fair bit of further work I don t in any sense begrudge Andrew Hurley his success with it and I m surely open to the accusation that none of my books have yet won the Costa However I simply hope that when we see from this clearly natural writer he and his editor will have taken trouble to tie up the loose endsI shall now take cover from incoming incendiarie. Ents No one ever went near the water No one apart from us that isI suppose I always new 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. Review originally published at Learn This PhraseWas ever a book suited to a grey and drizzly Bank Holiday weekend Which it was when I read it Steeped in religious symbolism and uintessentially British bleakness The Loney is an odd dreary sort of horror story the tale of two boys our nameless narrator and his mute brother Andrew nown as Hanny The Loney is a place a desolate stretch of northern coast and one of a number of deliberately evocative place names in this story along with the village of Coldbarrow and the houses Thessaly and Moorings Day after day the rain swept in off the sea in huge vaporous curtains that licked Coldbarrow from view and then moved inland to drench the cattle fields The beach turned to brown sludge and the dunes ruptured and sometimes crumbled altogether so that the sea and the marsh water united in vast lakes undulating with the carcasses of uprooted trees and bright red carrageen ripped from the sea bed The boys travel to the Loney as part of a sort of pilgrimage They are led by a newly arrived priest Father Bernard appointed after the death of the previous incumbent Father Wilfred With them are the boys parents who they call Mummer and Farther Father Wilfred s brother and his wife Mr and Mrs Belderboss and the church housekeeper Miss Bunce and her fianc David The religious aspect of the group s gathering is than mere exposition Mummer believes it is here that Hanny will be cured of his mutism and learning difficulties and it s the perceived power of faith and ritual ultimately the insufficiency of faith that informs the plot s development and the real horror at the Loney s heartOriginally published independently by Tartarus Press last year and now picked up by Hodder Stoughton imprint John Murray the new hardback is out in August The Loney is gathering a buzz in the media and inevitably on Twitter A piece on the ghost story s renaissance in the Telegraph had this to say Modern classics in this genre are rare and instant ones even rarer The Loney however looks as though it may be both The Loney isn t really a ghost story but it has plenty of the genre s classic traits such as the framing narrative in which the narrator is looking back on this period of his youth and occasionally mentions talking about the Loney with his therapist There s a pinch of black magic and an inexplicable transformation but much of the story concentrates on building atmosphere constructing a nuanced portrait of the boys really rather grim lives realising the feverish desperate sense of hope surrounding the group s presence at Moorings I often thought there was too much time there That the place was sick with it Haunted by it Time didn t leak away as it should There was nowhere for it to go and no modernity to hurry it along It collected as the black water did on the marshes and remained and stagnated in the same way The most disturbing details don t appear to have much to do with anything supernatural what to make of the heavily pregnant girl the brothers meet the narrator initially estimates her age as thirteen or fourteen and later states she seemed even younger than I d first thought who says airily of the impending birth it s nothing I ve done this before It gets easier the you have and is never seen again The Telegraph piece compares Hurley s work to that of Robert Aickman and it s easy to see the resemblance in the sheer dread Hurley evokes here as well as the depiction indeed personification of nature as savage and cruel Also Aickmanesue is the deeply ambiguous ending concluding the story with either a stroke of genius or a frustrating cop out depending on your interpretation I have to say that personally I was
A Little DisappointedIt Slittle disappointedIt s that the central family has the surname Smith The Loney is like a Morrissey song made novel Everyday is Like Sunday with shades of Yes I Am Blind and maybe a bit of November Spawned a Monster and with a depiction of a poor Catholic childhood central to the story I was reminded of the earlier parts of his autobiography than once The story is set in the 1970s and it s perfectly redolent of a time not so long ago but almost unthinkable now before technology transformed the possibility of any place seeming entirely unknowable Of course the inability to call for help is a mainstay of horror stories and isn t limited to those set before everyone had a mobile phone but here it s used particularly effectively to help portray an era a way of life a system of belief in its death throes The Loney is at once acutely bleak and strangely beautiful A train rushed past leaving a skirl of litter and dust and then the rails returned to their bright humming In *the scrubland beyond the swifts were darting over the tufts of grass and the hard baked soil with its beetroot coloured *scrubland beyond the swifts were darting over the tufts of grass and the hard baked soil with its beetroot coloured We watched them turning on their hairpins deftly as bats I can certainly understand why The Loney might be labelled an instant classic It s a seriously impressive first novel and so successful at creating a setting that it s sure to linger in the memory Fantastic dark read especially for Halloween and for those who are fans of the first season of True Detective Just finished this for the second maybe third time The slightly freaky build up in the first third has little tidbits you may not really note the first time through but in hindsight the first chapters contain foggy clues as to the nature of what is to comeORIGINAL REVIEW The Loney has me A long malevolent spit of sand reaching out into the cold Irish sea the Loney also holds ancient dead and plenty of secrets in its depths Beautifully written this novel entirely deserves all the awards its been crowned with The dark gothic story weaves together pagan folklore and fervent Catholicism into a mourning shroud here The tale features two young brothers from London one an altar boy and his elder who is mute and cognitively disabled For years their devout parents and their parish priest have taken the boys to a windswept retreat to celebrate Easter week but importantly to visit a shrine where healing waters are hoped to cure the boy who cannot speak It was our week of penitence and prayer in which we would make our confessions visit Saint Anne s shrine and look for God in the emerging springtime that when it came was hardly a spring at all nothing so vibrant and effusive It was the soggy afterbirth of winterThe remote old estate that the priest rents out was built by a wealthy gentleman who took up taxidermy as a hobby Preserved rats two hideously stuffed chimpanzees seated on a tandem bicycle and a sealed jar of urine are part of the odd charms of staying in this place called Moorings The never ending rain and mist fearsome locals speaking in bizarre dialects and a mysterious heavily pregnant 13 year old add twists of fear to the atmosphereWe Thy Father S Son know as readers that this Catholic shrine will not bring Hanny his voice or solid intellect and the new priest who accompa. If it had another name I nevernew 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 Fat. Nies them this time does too But a local woman whose blind eyes were the color of unwashed mushrooms can now suddenly see just a few days later The stinted and long dead apple trees bear luscious dripping fruit overnight A lightening struck tree dead for decades has sprouted a tender new limb There is indeed some sort of strange healing going on but it has nothing to do with the Catholic faithConsider this bible uote at the start of the novel Matthew 932 34While they were going out a man who was demon possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus And when the demon was driven out the man who had been mute spoke The crowd was amazed and said Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel But the Pharisees said It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons I What Child Is This know right Creepy I absolutely adored listening to this as a free audio book and just ordered a used hardback copy of it for my son Does that tell you how much I liked it Even when writing tidbits about rough neighborhoods in London something that has nothing to do with the eerie aspects of the story this author shines We would turn in our seats and gawp out of the windows at the scruffy staring children who had no toys but the bits of wood and metal torn off the broken furniture in their front yards where aproned women stood and screeched obscenities at the men stumbling out of corner pubs It was a safari park of degradation What a phraseSharing details here will only spoil the little surprises for you but I will say this The Loney is not a novel that wraps itself up with a big burst of fireworks at the end There are mysteries in here that unless younow about the healing folklore surrounding Lancashire England might leave you wanting a detailed description when the book closes If you Brush And Whip know anything about Druid customs or old stories about fairies hiring midwives with magic ointments then you may be a bit satisfied I didn tnow any of these things but was able to see the parallels between Seven Soul key Christian events and the sordid activities by locals The ringing of bells stones that make one invisible and a seagull with a broken wing are little things to notice The tale is a slow languorous burn so take your time smoking your way through When theey scene comes pay attention and think back to earlier portions of the story If you take your time things will click with an evil glintLastly if you re a Catholic prepare to possibly be offended The good news is that the Irish priest who plays the biggest role in the story is a gem and he has a Labrador retriever to boot Perfect dog to go chase a ball at the beach but never ever ever at the Loney 5 starsUPDATE FOR HALLOWEEN 2019I love that one of the bottles similar to the creepy one in this story recently appeared Love it Well deserved Costa First Novel Winner 2015There s a lot that could have gone wrong in this book Every gothichorror motif you can think of forms part of the story including moorscrumbling old housedark and dank weatherbroken down vehicleswoodsvoracious naturepriestsanimal mutilationwitcheslaughing rooks etc etc It is fuelled by myth and susperstition The Loney is personified a character itself full of malevolent will Death lives there natural or unnatural it has become unremarkableYet is is precisely for this reason that Hurley is on everybody s one to watch list Because he made these work All together At once In the same story No wonder Stephen King was impressed His writing style is formidable that this is a debut is ridiculous His words move the story beyond the plot into a feeling an atmosphere an understanding that something is very wrong It makes you feel anxious uncertain it haunts It s not gory because if it were your imagination wouldn t be free to run wild Instead Hurley uses piercing description to lead you to the door what you see through it is up to you Many thanks to Andrew Hurley John Murray what you see through it is up to you Many thanks to Andrew Hurley John Murray and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review This was a bit of an odd one Maybe my expectations were too high after all the praise I ve heard about it but I didn t find myself connecting with this in the same way that others have Too much was left unexplained meaning by the half way mark I was beginning to lose my patience and I really struggled to see where the story was going The ending itself left me mystified I didn t realise going into this that there would be so much on religion as it follows a devoutly I would say fanatically religious community Perhaps this is way I struggled to relate to it much It s also a hard book to describe not uite creepy enough to be called horror and lacking a satisfying enough plot to be a thriller or mystery Saying that I really liked how the author wrote the characters who were all well developed and realistic to the point that *I took a real disliking to certain characters That was really well done The relationship between the *took a real disliking to certain characters That was really well done The relationship between the brothers and their way of communicating was also really touching Ultimately I m not sure whether I d recommend this or not It didn t uite work for me personally but that doesn t mean I think it s a bad book or one that others won t enjoy I m always wary towards every ideology people try to force on me No matter what it may concern Religious beliefs politic Astonishing literary fiction with a gothic dark undertone that had me alert from beginning to end I read this in hours unable to put it down and it s a powerfully written novel that doesn t need a fast pace or out of this world twists or in your face horror to get the story across to you Mesmerising and disturbingThe Loney is a bleak place off the coast of Lancashire England A place steeped in history religious belief and dark undercurrents A pilgrimage is made back to this mournful place by a group of church goers and their new Parish Priest what then unfolds is nothing short of imagination genius It s what is not said in this book that makes it so brilliant it s the way you put pieces together and wonder if you ve arrived at the right conclusionMiracles Bodies Death Superstition Hidden Rooms The Loney Then there is thesomething the something Oh my word I m truly lost for words where the ending took me It took much reflection on the entire book beautifully writtenDon t expect a bloody gory horror but if it s an atmospheric chilling gothic flavoured read you enjoy you will love this as I did I was uite literally enmeshed with the writing from the first word Time just flew by This win The Costa Award 2015 and for a new work of literary fiction I can see why 5 stars from me and long listed for my Top Ten Reads 2016Let The Loney spill it s secrets I love many inds of novels but near the top of my list are the following scary novels coming of age novels novels with a sense of place novels with a gothic atmosphere well written novels novels set in rural backwaters novels featuring houses with secrets novels with emotional depth and novels which deal honestly. Her Wilfred the parish priestIt was impossible to truly now 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 curr.