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Starve Acre

Narrated by: Richard Burnip
Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The new novel from 'the new master of menace' (Sunday Times)  

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby's son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. 

Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life but is now a haunted place.  

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try to keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.  

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning best-seller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.

©2019 Andrew Michael Hurley (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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  • Keith
  • 11-19-19

Malevolent

Quite the tale. Loved both of Hurley’s other books and this is as good or better. Powerful scene setting, slowly builds towards its denouement that is nuanced.

I understand this is the last of his folk horror trilogy, look forward to the urban setting of his next!

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 11-06-19

an unsettling tale

Andrew Michael Hurley creates the essential true-life base to power this slow-burn gothic story. Richard and Juliette have moved to the country to give their young son Ewan an idyllic childhood steeped in birdsong, close to woods, trees and earth. But we learn very early on that Ewan is dead and Juliette is manic with giref,

In flashbacks we see how 5 year-old Ewan's disturbed behaviour (vicious acts which he says 'Jack Grey'told him to do) resulted in the family being ostracised in the little community, Well-meaning but intolerable family members try to help - but Juliette's condition declines, Richard is excavating their barren field (the 'Starve Acre') where once had been a hanging tree where 3 boys has been hanged for crimes they committed at 'Jack Grey's' bidding; the hare skeleton which Richard finds... I can't spoil that part of the plot; Juliette slips further and further into the mad, untouchable isolation of grief.

Hurley is brilliant at communicating the beauty of nature: the sky is 'star-rich'; nature unfurls in all its green lustre in the spring; sounds and colours are subtle and exact. Hurley manages to make the menace grow naturally from the beauty, so that its hold over the family doesn't seem wholly unnatural or frightening. This novel, Hurley's 3rd, is less than half the length of his first The Loney (which is reviewed along with his Devil's Day on my Listener Page) and the ending sentence is a complete surprise: shocking, disturbing but somehow credible - certainly not horror as it has been billed. It's too human, too natural for that. The much shorter length makes the whole a little less satisfying than his other longer novels.

The narration helps to keep the story rooted in real life too with the Scottish and country accents which make real people we can believe in even when events are so strange..

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-04-19

Another great book from Andrew Michael Hurley

Not quite as good as his two previous books but still an excellent listen. The shorter length means less time for character development. It still manages the same sense of dread and lingering doom as previous Hurley books through his superb writing. I also feel that Burnip is the perfect narrator for these books he’s on fine form yet again here. Can’t wait for the next one

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  • P Atkins
  • 12-17-19

A pretty grim affair

I cannot say I enjoyed this book. The story is grim and bleak and I came away feeling grim and bleak. Beautifully written, the author evokes the wild and remote countryside on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors but there is no joy whatsoever in this book. Just anxiety and grief and finally some horror. It may have worked better if you read this as a novel, as it would not immerse you in this cold grey wotld quite as much as when you are listening to it, but I really cannot recommend it as an audible book.