Saturday, 31 October 2015

THE LONEY by Andrew Michael Hurley

This is a book with a great set-up, but poor pay-off. Much like the average person's life, I guess.

It tells the story of a family's annual religious pilgrimage to the English coast, to a place called the Loney.
It was our week of penitence and prayer in which we would make our confessions, visit St 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 more the soggy afterbirth of winter. Dull and featureless it may have looked, but the Loney was a dangerous place. A wild and useless length of English coastline. A dead mouth of a bay that filled and emptied and made Coldbarrow . . . into an island. The tides could come in quicker than a horse could run and every year a few people drowned. . . Opportunist cocklepickers, ignorant of what they were dealing with, drove their trucks onto the sands at low tide and washed up weeks later with green faces and skin like lint

It's all so very promising! The protagonist's brother has some kind of developmental disorder, so he cannot speak, and their mother is convinced that they can pray him well. In the best tradition of this kind of novel they run into local rural people who are obviously involved in creepy rural stuff: sheep's hearts turn up in cow's skulls, pregnant teenage girls disappear, community theatre is obviously a satanic ritual, and etc. Why are rural people always doing this kind of thing? Probably they are bored because internet speeds are too slow for youtube.

Anyway, eventually the brother is healed after the locals do something not too fantastic with a baby. Somehow this manages to be anti-climactic.

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