The Many by Wyl Menmuir
Published by Salt
Published 15 June 2016
NB: I’ve decided to read all of the books long-listed for the Man Booker this year. Other book blogs do this so it seems like a good idea.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
On the surface, his move to the isolated village on the coast makes perfect sense. But the experience is an increasingly unsettling one for Timothy Bucchanan. A dead man no one will discuss. Wasted fish hauled from a contaminated sea. The dream of faceless men. Questions that lead to further questions. What truth are the villagers withholding? What fuels their interest and animosity towards him? And what pushes Timothy to dig deeper?
A THIN TRAIL OF smoke rises up from Perran’s, where no smoke has risen in ten years.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I must admit I wasn’t impressed by The Many. Based on the blurb alone, I was expecting to really enjoy this novella. It sounds like my cup of tea. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out like that. The Many is well written and uses rich, evocative language. Under the surface though there’s not much going on. I enjoyed the atmosphere created in The Many. I enjoyed some of the things that fuel events in the novel; the decaying way of life in the village, the creepy fascination the villagers have with Timothy, Ethan grief for the dead boy who once lived in Timothy’s house and the sense that something dark and sinister is really going on. The Many could have been brilliant and had huge potential but it all starts to fizzle out in the last quarter and potential for greatness ends up deflated like a burst balloon. All the creepy, rather sinister overtones ultimately go nowhere. This is my most disappointing Booker read so far. The Many didn’t live up to its potential and I couldn’t recommend it.