Bookshots: "The Loney" by Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Title:

The Loney

'The Loney' belongs to the Gothic tradition of supernatural storytelling, and it is a genuine standout even among its more hallmark titles.

Who wrote it?

Andrew Michael Hurley, author of two short story collections, Cages and The Unusual Death of Julie Christie. The Loney is his debut novel, originally published in a limited 300 hardcover run in 2014.

Plot in a Box:

A man named Smith recounts bizarre experiences in a desolate stretch of beach near Morecambe Bay called the Loney, where his family and their church friends make a regular pilgrimage over Easter weekend in the hopes of curing his brother Hanny's mental disability by way of a miracle.

Invent a new title for this book:

Outcasts 

Read this if you like(d):

The works of Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as Robert Eggers's film The Witch.

Meet the book's lead(s):

Smith, who we see mostly as a teenage boy in flashback. He is a quiet and mostly obedient child around adults, though he shows a more mischievous and even fiery side when alone with his brother Hanny. 

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Isaac Hempstead Wright, most famous for playing Bran Stark on Game of Thrones

Setting: Would you want to live there?

The Loney is a miserable, rainy, desolate place full of religious charlatanry and locals of nefarious character. That's a no.

What was your favorite sentence?

The sunlight that, as we left, had begun to creep over the London suburbs, disappeared the further north we went, returning only momentarily on the shoulder of a yellow hill miles away or picking out a distant reservoir in a second or two of magnesium brilliance.

The Verdict:

The Loney is a wonderful, wholly engrossing debut from an author who is sure to keep his place on the map of current weird fiction heavy-hitters (the book has garnered positive reviews from The Guardian and The Telegraph, as well as praise from the likes of Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer and Stephen King). 

There are customer reviews on Amazon right now complaining the book lacks suspense and chills, and generally isn't scary, but these are the same criticisms hurled at the aforementioned film The Witch, and Hurley's approach to narrative-crafting is the same as that of the film's director. He is most interested in askance, bleak atmosphere, psychological unease and interpersonal tension (combined with possibly supernatural forces at play) rather than boldface, terrorizing monsters, an approach Hurley masters despite his newness to novel writing. 

Put another way, The Loney belongs to the Gothic tradition of supernatural storytelling, and it is a genuine standout even among its more hallmark titles.

Image of The Loney
Manufacturer: Mariner Books
Part Number:
Price:
Christopher Shultz

Review by Christopher Shultz

Christopher Shultz writes weird, dark fiction. His stories have appeared both online and in print, including most recently in Apex Magazinefreeze frame flash fiction and Grievous Angel. In addition to LitReactor, he has also written for Ranker.comCultured Vultures and Tor.com. At times, he dabbles in digital art and photography. Christopher lives in Oklahoma City with his fiancée Lauren and their two mostly well-behaved cats. More info at christophershultz.com.

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Comments

annanita's picture
annanita May 30, 2017 - 9:21pm

Yet another book goes on my list. Thanks for the great article.

So many zombie games out there are all about surviving hordes of the undead as they pile in on top of you while ammo runs thin