Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

Book Review

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"To stay in the gloaming is to hold off the night. But if the night never comes, then neither can the day."

The Gloaming was released in the UK on 19th April 2018. It is written by Kirsty Logan and published by Harvill Secker.

This is another entry into the growing trend of 'grown-up fairy tales,' like Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child and Claire Fuller's Swimming Lessons. I like this genre but it can be dangerous, bordering on the cutesy if you're not careful. However, Kirsty Logan manages to walk the line quite well and The Gloaming is an immersive read that's a bit different from anything else out there at the moment.

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay. 

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language.

There are some quite dark elements to the book which I think save it from the occasional tip into fairy tale land, instead Logan uses folklore to balance out what is essentially a family drama in an isolated landscape.

If you're a fan of family dramas then The Gloaming is for you, with each character providing a different ingredient to the boiling pot of family emotions and interactions. Although I found Mara a little frustratingly apathetic at times, I did believe in her and found her to be understandable in her actions, and a lot deeper than she first appears.

The only character I didn't really believe in was Pearl, who seems a little bit too quirky and different to be real. She reminds me too much of the 'quirky girl' stock character who always turns up in indie films. To be fair though, by the end of the book I found she had more depth to her.

I think Logan has really nailed the mix of mythical and everyday family struggles. Though the book focuses on a lot of folk lore, selkies, mythical islands etc, at the base of it, it is a family struggling with issues that everyone can relate too; grieving, aging, family dynamics and the simple struggle of everybody who is trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

My Rating: 4 Stars

I received a copy of The Gloaming, via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice review! Sounds like an interesting read, and I really like the cover. :)