Beth is an albino, half blind, and given to looking at the world out of the corner of her eye. Her neighbours in the Derbyshire town of Blackmoor have always thought she was ‘touched’, and when a series of bizarre happenings shake the very foundations of the village, they suspect her involvement. The neighbours say that Beth eats dirt from the flowerbeds, and that smoke rises from her lawn. By the end of the year, she is dead.
A decade later her son, Vincent, treated like a bad omen by his father George, is living in a pleasant suburb miles from Blackmoor. There the bird-watching teenager stumbles towards the buried secrets of his mother’s life and death in the abandoned village.
Blackmoor is the story of a community that fell apart, and a past that refuses to go away . . .
Praise for Blackmoor
‘[A] gloomy, brilliant debut… Hogan, still in his 20s, writes in the modern, simple prose of a writer far older and he’s expert at unpicking the frustrations of the working-class male in post-industrial Britain; Beth’s husband is a man whose “ambition, he realised, had become to avoid humiliation”. It’s joyously depressing stuff, but also a wise study of bereavement.’
‘There’s a subtle magic to Hogan’s prose, and a passionate concern for the part of the world where this novel is based, which invites comparison with D H Lawrence – but that would be lazy. This novel … has confidence, mystery and an entrancing sense of itself’
The Independent on Sunday
“Ed’s voice is utterly distinctive: strong, emotive, haunting. His powers of observation seem almost supernatural. I am struck by the careful, line-by-line craftsmanship of the writing, as well as the bold design of the whole. What I notice is how he sets the tone and keeps to it – it’s quite rare to find such resolution and clarity of purpose in a first novel.”
“Blackmoor is dead smart and heartbreaking. It’s offbeat and incredibly compelling. I love the way Edward Hogan writes.”
‘A fascinating story of the harsh way in which a troubled community treats its eccentrics. A partially sighted albino woman and her bird-watching son are alienated as their mining village is destroyed. Weird but wonderful’
Michele Hansen, The Guardian
‘Hogan’s split time-frame is combined with multiple narrative perspectives which enable him to dig deep into his characters. He is aided by writing which is charged with a bite and passion harking back to his Northern forebears: DH Lawrence, most obviously, with a passing touch, perhaps, of Charlotte Brontë. His figurative language is neatly imaginative… Hogan is a clearly a writer to watch.’
‘The delivery is graceful [but] the sense of understated, growing menace is what really holds this book together… As everything crumbles, the elements… start to slot into place, bringing warmth to an already deeply felt novel.’
‘Blackmoor’s greatest quality is that it’s not quite like anything else, signalling the emergence of a fresh and interesting voice’