Thursday 26 April 2012

Blackmoor by Edward Hogan

 Review by Maryom

Blackmoor was a Derbyshire pit village until economics forced the closure of the mine and the resultant gas build-up in abandoned workings forced the demolition of a community - the people were moved out and buildings flattened.
 Teenager Vincent has grown up in the suburb village of Church Eaton, never knowing Blackmoor the place where he was born or his mother Beth who died there.  Vincent is a strange solitary boy not fitting in with schoolmates; his father George an over-protective parent with a not-too-hidden aggressive streak. Both have been shaped and changed by the events leading up to Beth's death - when Vincent starts a school project about the demolition of Blackmoor , he never expects to unearth things about his own past

Blackmoor was Edward Hogan's debut novel and although I enjoyed it, it feels less accomplished and polished than his second, The Hunger Trace. I don't want to give the impression, though, that this is a dull, badly written  book - far from it! Blackmoor is an absorbing exploration of things hidden below the surface of life - neither coal mines nor buried family history can be simply ignored and walked away from. Hogan takes the three strands of Beth's life, her son's and the mining village she lived in and weaves them intricately together.

 I come more or less from the area the novel is set in and loved Hogan's capturing of local dialect and landmarks -as I read, I could imagine myself following the characters' footsteps, seeing the sights they saw etc

One criticism I would make is about the cover illustration - it gives the distinct impression that this is a novel set in the past - early 20th century or maybe Victorian era - whereas it's actually set 'now' and in the not so distant past of 1980s.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Genre - Adult literary fiction
Buy Blackmoor from Amazon

1 comment:

  1. About half way through this book and trying to work out why it got acclaimed/prize listed. I can't say I've been too impressed. The omniscient voice reads very arch and old fashioned and the only character that came off the page at all for me was the father. The back and forward in chronology is driving me insane - I feel like I'm not able to be gripped by either story. And it feels historical in the writing as well as the cover to me.