Falling Flat with "The Loney", by Andrew Michael Hurley - Book Review

About The Loney, Stephen King wrote, “It’s not just good, it’s great. An amazing piece of fiction.”

The judges who awarded it the Costa First Novel Award wrote, “We all agreed this is as close to the perfect first novel you can get.”

I seriously wonder how it is possible we all read the same book.

It is touted as a thriller. I was never thrilled. It is supposed to be haunting and suspenseful. I found it to be neither. One reviewer suggested any reader would suffer sleepless nights.

Any sleeplessness this book caused in me related to my inability to figure out how it was so highly regarded.

The Loney
By Andrew Michael Hurley

The story is set in a gloomy coastal hamlet somewhere in the British Isles. The main character, his family, and a priest, return there to carry out an annual ritual aimed at curing his brother of his muteness.

While on their pilgrimage this time, the boys find a gun. They keep it. Some creepy locals appear. They are strange and do strange things. The boys meet an odd couple with a very pregnant teenage daughter. Some arguably supernatural – or maybe just unnatural - things occur. I couldn’t say for sure.

Perhaps the value of this book is in a subtlety too refined for my logical mind. But I read a lot of books and I feel that if I missed the point, so will many others.

Either way, The Loney’s purported genius was lost on me. My two thoughts when I finished the book were, first, what did I just read? Second, why did I just read it?

Published: 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Elizabeth's rating: 1 star