If you liked… The Loney

A friend recently asked me for some personal recommendations after she finished reading Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney. This got me thinking about starting a series of recommendation pages as part of an effort to bring new content to this website (asides from reviews). If you’ve just finished reading a new release (or possibly an old classic), and you’re looking to read something similar, let me know here and I’ll try to find some titles to recommend for you. Let’s start with The Loney.

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The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley
Release Date: 07/04/2016 (Paperback UK)
Publisher: John Murray General Publishing Division
Pages: 368pp RRP: £7.99 (Paperback)
Ebook version available here (£4.99)

Following the devoutly religious family of brothers Hanny and Tonto as they go on an annual pilgrimage to a remote shrine in an effort to cure Hanny’s mutism, The Loney is a strong example of effective Gothic horror. It manages to balance the supernatural with the simply strange, and shows that Hurley has an ear for the absurd when it comes to conversation. Whilst it does suffer from some minor issues of pacing and focus, Hurley’s debut leaves you wanting to see what else he can conjure forth.

In terms of similar books to recommend, two in particular spring to mind.

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Review: Multiple Choice – Alejandro Zambra

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Multiple Choice – Alejandro Zambra
Release Date: 19/07/2016 (US) 06/10/2016 (UK)
Publisher: Penguin Books (US) Granta Books (UK)
Pages: pp 128 RRP: £11.32 (US Paperback) £12.99 (UK Hardback)
Kindle edition available for preorder here (£8.54)

I’ve seen some interesting uses of formats over the years, but I’ve never quite seen anything like this. Alejandro Zambra’s Multiple Choice uses a standardised test format to challenge our perceptions of storytelling and how we create meaning.

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Review: You Are Having a Good Time – Amie Barrodale

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You Are Having a Good Time – Amie Barrodale
Release Date: 05/07/2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: pp 208 RRP: £11.99 (Paperback)

There’s something to be said about the impact that distorting familiar situations and concepts to create something new can have. Amie Barrodale’s You Are Having a Good Time takes this tool and uses it with surprising effectiveness to explore communication skills and our failure to improve them over time, especially through the medium of modern technology, even if it does reach some confusing conclusions.

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Review: Problems – Jade Sharma

Problems

Problems – Jade Sharma
Release Date: 12/07/2016
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Pages: pp 180 RRP: £11.99 (Paperback)
Kindle version available here (£6.02)

Heroin addiction is a topic that has been covered in graphic detail many times before. Whether in the works of Burroughs or Welsh, it’s been the focus of some bold literature over the years, with one key glaring issue: the protagonists are almost always white. Jade Sharma’s debut novel, Problems, takes a look at heroin addiction from the perspective of a young Indian woman with a dark sense of humour and severe body image issues, offering a unique perspective that offers some interesting insight on this subject matter.

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Review: Vaseline Buddha – Jung Young Moon

Vasline Buddha

Vaseline Buddha – Jung Young Moon (Translated by Yewon Jung)
Release Date: 05/07/2016
Publisher (US): Deep Vellum Publishing
Pages: pp 226 RRP: £11.30 (Paperback)
EPub version available here (£9.59)

Novels that use techniques like stream of consciousness writing almost always turn out strange. Strange but memorable, and quite often deeply profound (look at Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing). Jung Young Moon’s Vaseline Buddha is easily one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read, and I’m including the works of Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison in that list.

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Review: The Girls – Emma Cline

The Girls

The Girls – Emma Cline
Release Date: 16/06/2016
Publisher (UK): Chatto & Windus
Pages: 368pp RRP: £12.99 (Hardback)
Kindle version available here (£7.99)

I’m always a little cautious when a new release is receiving a lot of hype (especially when it also involves authors with huge book deals) – I’ve been burned before, and have adopted a default state of cautious optimism over the last few years. When Emma Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, came into view, I was intrigued by the idea of a novel influenced by the acts of the Manson Family. To see that Cline has taken her fascination with cults and crafted a novel like this, means that the hype is just about deserved.

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Review: Girls on Fire – Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire Cover

Girls on Fire – Robin Wasserman
Release Date: 05/05/2016
Publisher (UK): Little, Brown
Pages: 368pp RRP: £12.99 (Hardback)
Kindle version available here (£6.99)

Sometimes it can be easy to summarise a novel in a brief sentence for a friend. You don’t often get the chance to describe something as ‘being like a sinister version of Mean Girls with a grunge soundtrack, and just a touch of Heathers‘ though. Set in the small Pennsylvanian town of Battle Creek during the height of grunge music and the Satanic panic, Robin Wasserman’s Girls on Fire is an interesting depiction of destructive friendships and the dark places they can take a person to.

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