by Menmuir, Wyl | Fiction
Published 15/06/2016 by Salt Publishing
Paperback | 160 pages
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
‘Four boats work out of the cove now… Four where there were fourteen. And the remains of the others corrode slowly, long since stripped of tackle and anything useful and waiting to be dislodged one by one in the winter storms and reclaimed by the sea’
Timothy Buchannan buys an abandoned house on the edge of an isolated village on the coast, sight unseen. When he sees the state of it he questions the wisdom of his move, but starts to renovate the house for his wife, Lauren to join him there.
When the villagers see smoke rising from the chimney of the neglected house they are disturbed and intrigued by the presence of the incomer, intrigue that begins to verge on obsession. And the longer Timothy stays, the more deeply he becomes entangled in the unsettling experience of life in the small village.
Ethan, a fisherman, is particularly perturbed by Timothy’s arrival, but accedes to Timothy’s request to take him out to sea. They set out along the polluted coastline, hauling in weird fish from the contaminated sea, catches that are bought in whole and removed from the village. Timothy starts to ask questions about the previous resident of his house, Perran, questions to which he receives only oblique answers and increasing hostility.
As Timothy forges on despite the villagers’ animosity and the code of silence around Perran, he starts to question what has brought him to this place and is forced to confront a painful truth.
Permeated with an unnerving and palatable aura of claustrophobia, The Many offers a vivid picture of an isolated community, threatened by extinction and clinging desperately to a way of life being steadily eroded.
In this, his debut, Wyl Menmuir writes passionately and sensitively about the nature of loss, both personal and communal and what is left behind when everything known and familiar is swept away.