If it had another name, I never knew, 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 Father Wilfred, the parish priest.
It was impossible to truly know 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 currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is.
I suppose I always knew 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…
Having not read a gothic horror book before I wasn’t sure what I would make of this book, I had seen nothing but fantastic reviews and that was my hint to at least give it a shot…
The narrator is a young boy called ‘Tonto’ as we learn is his nickname, who endures every Easter a religious pilgrimage in a rather dank and depressing part of England in 1976. The plot is centered around Tonto’s older handicapped brother, Hanny. Their religious parents believe that making this pilgrimage will find the cure for Hanny’s muteness but with its bleak location and unusual locals nothing is what it seems.I found the story quite hard going, the religious aspect of it was somewhat confusing and rather hard to fathom at times. There was an awful lot of everything being thrown into the mix, the ordinary every day life things that didn’t seem relevant and made me rather impatient for something to happen.I’m not surprised that people find this book to be a modern classic, it’s most certainly mysterious and awfully dark at times and Hurley is a brilliant writer for creating such an atmosphere that honestly had me disturbed at times.
The uneasy atmosphere of the book stems from the death of a previous priest, a locked room and some unwelcoming local men with a ferocious dog and even more unsettling a couple staying across the water with a young pregnant girl in a wheelchair who Hanny takes a liking to. We’re enlightened by the girl that her pregnancy isn’t the first time, making this plot turn into rather an upsetting one. Not much else was said about the girl other than that and so I felt a lot of things were untold in this book, but my gosh that doesn’t bother me one bit. Normally I’m frustrated but the unanswered questions hold the mystery to this book and that’s what I found compelling despite me not perhaps understanding the plot completely.
I would definitely be interested in reading more from Hurley and whether he sticks to horror or attempts another genre. Well written, disturbing and definitely a page turner once more events begin to unfold!