Debut gothic horror novel, The Loney by British author Andrew Michael Hurley (HMH; Overdrive Sample), has been named “Book of the Year” by the British Book Industry.
The awards honor the industry as a whole, from authors to publishers to retailers. Added this year are prizes for fiction, nonfiction, debut fiction, and children’s books. The “Book of the Year’ is selected from the winners of those four categories. The Loney rose over a shortlist of 32 titles including Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.
The Guardian reports the awards are given to books “that have been both well-written and brilliantly published” and surveys The Loney‘s rise, which started as a limited run of 300 copies from an indie publisher. Word of mouth was so strong that it was picked up by UK publisher John Murray and went on to win the Costa first novel award and the print run was increased by almost 100 fold. The novel earned the praise of Stephen King, reports The Bookseller, and was acquired by DNA Films (Ex Machina).
It comes out in the U.S. today and has already caught the notice of Entertainment Weekly, which includes it on their list of “11 excellent new books to read in May.” The review however, gives it a B+, marking it down for a lack of genre focus and speed but calls it “ultimately terrifying” with “dark, unexpected depths.”
The Guardian offers stronger praise, “like the best gothic novels, The Loney is not merely thrills and chills: it is also a perceptive and nuanced exploration of the interrelation between faith, community and nature … the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.”
Check your orders. In several libraries holds are far outpacing copies.
National Book Award finalist, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, took the fiction award. The nonfiction winner, a surprise best seller in Europe, received less attention here, Lars Mytting and Robert Ferguson’s Norwegian Wood, is as the subtitle states, about “Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.”
David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero won best children’s book.