Kirsty Logan – The Gloaming


While reading The Gloaming, I felt like I was transported to that point in my childhood, when I discovered fairy tales. The reason behind this wave of nostalgia is because Kirsty Logan’s writing has a magical quality to it and she includes Scottish mythology in this book which enhances the reading experience. However Logan is clever and uses myth to probe into deeper subjects.

The main protagonist of the book is Mara, a girl who  lives on an island, where old people go to a cliff edge to die (they turn into stone) ,and is steeped in lore and superstition. When her younger brother dies in an accident and her elder sister emigrates, she is at her lowest point in her life and to escape the loss Mara turns to reading, which result in her meeting Pearl, who she falls in love with.

Mara’s relationship with Pearl is the crux of the book. We readers learn that after a disastrous relationship with a male, Mara learns about her sexuality and talents, in short discovers herself. In the meantime Mara has to balance her guilt, relationship with her parents and more importantly, her love/hate relationship with the island. Ultimately Mara has to choose which path to take.

The Gloaming is fantastic. There are some twists in the narrative, Logan explores all her characters thoroughly by giving information about their backgrounds and these chapters helped make the novel feel whole. I connected with all the protagonists in this book and combined the magical atmosphere (but with the exception of the stone bit, the book is grounded in reality) made  The Gloaming a joy to read. Plus the fact that I live on an island, although I prefer it in the winter, helped me relate to the book. Also Logan knows how to create a feel good magical realist book without being twee or overdoing the magical bits. This was my first taste of Logan’s writing and since it was so positive I am definitely going to read more of her books.

Many thanks to Harvill Secker for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review