The Many – Wyl Menmuir (Salt 2016) – A Man Booker Longlist Review

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British author Wyl Menmuir has made the Booker longlist with his debut.  This short novel shows a very confident handling of mood and style.  In  a small fishing village strange things are occurring- the fish look sick and deformed due to some form of chemical pollution and an outsider has come to live in the long abandoned house of a villager lost at sea.

This is a very edgy novel which borders upon horror but is perhaps more of a study of loss and loneliness.  It is told using the viewpoint of two characters, Ethan, who has lost a friend and Timothy who comes with many questions into the village and moves into the dead man’s house.  He wants to find out more about the environment he is inhabiting but this information is not easy to come by.

I can appreciate the writing talent but I felt it was all a little at one level.  There wasn’t enough light with the shade for me and this haunting tale did not quite fully draw me in.  The mysteries within the novel are purposely left unresolved as I knew all along they would be.  I think congratulations are due to author and his publishers Salt for the longlist inclusion but I think this might be as far as Menmuir goes on this occasion.

threestars

The Many was published by Salt Publishing  in  June 2016

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