Summary and book reviews of The Loney by Andrew Hurley

The Loney

by Andrew Hurley

The Loney by Andrew Hurley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2016, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2017, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
James Broderick

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Book Summary

The eerie, suspenseful debut novel — hailed as "an amazing piece of fiction" by Stephen King — that is taking the world by storm.

When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine. 

But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost. Proclaimed a "modern classic" by the Sunday Telegraph (UK), The Loney marks the arrival of an important new voice in fiction.

While 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.'

- Matthew 9:32–34

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

- W. B. Yeats, 'The Second Coming'

1

It had certainly been a wild end to the autumn. On the Heath a gale stripped the glorious blaze of colour from Kenwood to Parliament Hill in a matter of hours, leaving several old oaks and beeches dead. Mist and silence followed and then, after a few days, there was only the smell of rotting and bonfires.

I spent so long there with my notebook one afternoon noting down all that had fallen that I missed my session with Doctor Baxter. He told me not to worry. About the ...

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  • award image

    Costa Book Awards
    2016

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Fans of gothic horror and psychological thrillers will sense the presence of Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, and even Poe, hovering over this book like guardian angels of darkness. But Hurley's narrative never provides the climatic jolt necessary to bring the otherworldly terrors fully into this world. His story offers a thoughtful, restrained, and literary denouement but most fans of gothic fiction will want a few doors noisily slammed, a few bell towers to crumble to dust, and maybe even a reanimated corpse. Is that too much to ask after spending so much time cowering under the bed?

The Loney puts readers into a fierce, untamed landscape and teases them with the prospect of genuine ferocity. Some might feel a bit shortchanged by what actually happens but most will probably be too mesmerized by the tumult of the sky and sea to pay much attention to what's happening indoors.   (Reviewed by James Broderick).

Full Review (740 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A thrilling first novel

Library Journal

Editor's Pick. This eerily atmospheric and engrossing novel will captivate readers who like their fiction with a touch of the gothic.

The Guardian (UK)

Here is the masterpiece by which Hurley must enter the Guild of the Gothic: it pleases me to think of his name written on some parchment scroll, alongside those of Walpole, Du Maurier, Maturin and Jackson.

The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

Astonishing ... Beautifully literary and absolutely horrific.

The Sunday Times (UK)

A masterful excursion into terror.

The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Modern classics in this genre are rare, and instant ones even rarer; The Loney, however, looks as though it may be both.

The Observer (UK)

Enigmatic and distinctly unsettling.... The Loney's power lies in all that Hurley dares to leave out. 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. It takes both confidence and talent to write like this and it leaves you wanting more of whatever slice of darkness Hurley might choose to dish up next.

The Daily Telegraph (UK)

An extraordinarily haunted and haunting novel, arrestingly in command of its unique spot in the landscape.

New Statesman (UK)

A tale of suspense that sucks you in and pulls you under. As yarns go, it rips.

The Times (UK)

Bone-chilling, poetic writing.

Metro (UK)

Nuanced, deliberate and building insensibly from a murmur to a shriek. The Loney is an unforgettable addition to the ranks of the best British horror.

The Daily Mail (UK)

An eerie, disturbing read that doesn't let up until its surprise ending.

Author Blurb Stephen King
It's not just good, it's great. An amazing piece of fiction.

Author Blurb Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble
Atmospheric, psychologically astute, and saturated with the kind of electrifying wrongness that makes for pleasurably sleepless nights.

Author Blurb Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of the Southern Reach trilogy
The Loney is a stunning novel—about faith, the uncanny, strange rituals, and the oddity of human experience. Beautifully written, it's immensely entertaining, but also deep and wide. A moving evocation of desolate wilderness and a marvel of complex characterization.

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Beyond the Book

Lourdes

It might not be surprising to learn that about three million people a year visit the Taj Mahal, the world-famous opulent marble mausoleum in Agra, India. It is often referred to as the world's most beautiful building. But would you be surprised to discover that fully twice as many people a year visit a muddy, rocky cave on the site of a former garbage dump in a tiny town in France?

That town – Lourdes – and that shallow cave, which forms a kind of natural grotto, is the site of one of the most famous religious apparitions in history, the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a 14-year-old French girl named Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. And almost since that first in a series of 18 appearances to the young peasant girl, religious ...

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