Andrew Michael Hurley discusses his book The Loney which won the Costa First Novel Award in 2015. Recorded with an audience at the Liverpool Literary Festival and presented by James Naughtie.
First published in a print run of just 300 copies by a small press, The Loney went on to win The Costa First Novel Award and Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards 2015. This gothic novel is set on a bleak stretch of the Lancashire coast near Morecambe Bay called The Loney, which is infamous for its dangerous waters.
In 1976, The congregation of St Jude’s Catholic church in London head north, on pilgrimage to a holy shrine, near The Loney, hoping to cure Hanny, a boy who’s been mute since birth. His brother, who is unnamed throughout the novel, narrates the story in the present day.
The retreat is led by the newly installed parish priest, Father Bernard McGill, who struggles to shake off the ghost of his predecessor, the hardline Father Wilfred. Meanwhile, the rain sweeps in off the sea and the tides come and go, shifting the sands, burying and obscuring.
There's a mysterious death at the heart of the novel; complicated and destructive family relationships, and running through it all a story of faith and superstition, imagination and fear. To the author's delight it was described as 'an amazing piece of fiction' by the master of modern gothic himself, Stephen King.
Presenter : James Naughtie
Interviewed guest : Andrew Michael Hurley
Producer : Dymphna Flynn
December's Bookclub choice : The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (2013)