Hurley is a lovely writer. He has an original eye when it comes to imagery that doesn't jump out nor strain to be different (my favourite was the comparison between a dead man's eyes and mushrooms!).
It was all as if he wasn't trying too hard. So much so that I wasn't sure what the point of the story was even when I was halfway through and frankly didn't care. I just wanted to read what he wrote.
But that is not a criticism. I was involved with the two young boys' relationship and the new priest, the mother fixated on the security of religious ritual and the desolate place they chose to visit for their pilgrimage. The Loney is “a wild and useless length” of the northwest English
coastline, not a site of happy childhood seaside holidays but nostalgia none the less for the narrator. I wanted to see what happened there, what it all was about, curiously eager for bedtime (reading time for me) rather than the frustration that lesser books bring. Some critics have complained about the amount of religion integral to the story, but it was an interesting angle to me, recognisable in part and reminded me of people I have known.
I'm not sure how I would categorise this book. It is not the ghost story I was expecting although it is spookily atmospheric, gothic perhaps, has supernatural overtones with a great sense of place. I will have to think more on that. There is ambiguity in a way that made me think on after I had finished reading to discover the whole point of the tale and the concept of whether absolute truth exists.
In conclusion, I have discovered a talented new voice and I hope he continues to produce such thoughtful, intelligent works. Brilliant debut novel.
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER. WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD. THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016.
A brilliantly unsettling and atmospheric debut full of unnerving horror - 'The Loney is not just good, it's great. It's an amazing piece of fiction' Stephen King