Water Shall Refuse Them

Water Shall Refuse Them

The heatwave of 1976. Following the accidental drowning of her sister, sixteen-year-old Nif and her family move to a small village on the Welsh borders to escape their grief. But rural seclusion doesn't bring any relief. As her family unravels, Nif begins to put together her own form of witchcraft - collecting talismans from the sun-starved land. That is, until she meets...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Water Shall Refuse Them
Author:Lucie McKnight Hardy
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Water Shall Refuse Them Reviews

  • Blair

    It’s the summer of 1976, the year of an infamous heatwave in the UK, and teenage Nif and her family – mum, dad and little brother Lorry – are spending a month in a cottage on the Welsh borders. Together, they’re living through the aftermath of a shared tragedy; the getaway is supposed to be a chance to recalibrate. Left largely to her own devices, Nif pairs up with the strange boy next door, Mally. Meanwhile, her parents both (for very different reasons) become fascinated by Mally's mother.

    The

    It’s the summer of 1976, the year of an infamous heatwave in the UK, and teenage Nif and her family – mum, dad and little brother Lorry – are spending a month in a cottage on the Welsh borders. Together, they’re living through the aftermath of a shared tragedy; the getaway is supposed to be a chance to recalibrate. Left largely to her own devices, Nif pairs up with the strange boy next door, Mally. Meanwhile, her parents both (for very different reasons) become fascinated by Mally's mother.

    The atmosphere is palpable in Lucie McKnight Hardy’s debut novel. The unnamed village is an inward-looking place where both Nif’s family and Mally’s are regarded as outsiders. Nif’s character is revealed in snatches, the same way she, believing she’s ugly, will only take brief glances at her own reflection. The summer heat does what summer heat does: makes everything feel slightly unreal, as though actions don't have the consequences they usually would.

    When you’re reading it, you’re

    the burning sun, the baked earth, the sluggish inertia of too-hot weather. When you’re not reading it, you’re thinking about it.

    Ambiguity is key to such atmosphere, and McKnight Hardy does it brilliantly. Take the opening paragraphs, in which Nif describes cradling a head in her lap during the car journey to Wales. Any explanation for the head is deliberately avoided, and it says a lot about the general mood that you can believe, if only for a couple of pages, that she might actually be holding a severed human head. There’s frequently a destabilising queasiness to the details here, such as Lorry’s ‘wounds’ and the repeated mentions of Nif’s unwashed smell. Nif also follows ‘the Creed’, an invented belief system – her way of managing what seems to be obsessive-compulsive disorder – and its demands are often disturbing. (Avoid this book if you are particularly sensitive to scenes involving animal cruelty.)

    I didn’t want to spend too much time going on about the influence of folk horror – it’s an element sure to be discussed in any review of the book. But having

    the genre recently, and watched various films and TV from its 1970s heyday, it kept playing on my mind. In lesser hands, the story could’ve seemed like a retread of the genre's most obvious beats: rural setting + insular community with unconventional customs + oblivious outsiders. Nif’s buried anxieties are focused on a modern object (the telephone on which her mother receives a literally fatal call) and Mally’s outsider status has a historical precedent (the perceived sins of his ancestors). At times, the nods to folk horror cliches are almost cheeky; at this point, it takes both chutzpah and real talent to successfully pull off an ‘unwelcoming locals at the village pub’ scene! Yet it all works perfectly.

    In terms of modern fiction, I found it impossible to read

    without thinking about Andrew Michael Hurley’s

    Both books are possessed of the same slow-burn mood of creeping dread and weirdness, both understand the importance of setting a folk horror story in the genre’s defining era, and both use religious allusions to add light and shade to their characters’ ritualistic practices. The two novels are like brother and sister, Hurley’s grey and dreary, McKnight Hardy’s hot and hazy.

    has been quietly gathering hype on social media, and I have to say it’s justified. This is one of those extraordinarily accomplished debut novels that doesn't feel like a debut at all. It's not the sort of book every reader will click with, but if you

    ‘get’ it, you’ll quickly find yourself totally transfixed. I read most of it in the sunshine, and the rain started just as I reached the final chapter, and I finished the book feeling empty and bereft, but also like I’d had a near-perfect reading experience.

    |

    |

    |

  • Dan Coxon

    Having been a fan of Lucie McKnight Hardy's stories for some time, I couldn't wait to read this debut novel - and I wasn't disappointed. The term 'Folk Horror' will be used in many reviews, and rightly so. This is a novel that taps into local folklore and insular rural societies, spinning an unsettling yarn that's set in the mid-70s but feels unmistakably contemporary in its themes and concerns. Beyond that, though, I was reminded most strongly of Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory, with its Gothic

    Having been a fan of Lucie McKnight Hardy's stories for some time, I couldn't wait to read this debut novel - and I wasn't disappointed. The term 'Folk Horror' will be used in many reviews, and rightly so. This is a novel that taps into local folklore and insular rural societies, spinning an unsettling yarn that's set in the mid-70s but feels unmistakably contemporary in its themes and concerns. Beyond that, though, I was reminded most strongly of Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory, with its Gothic reimagining of a childhood gone feral, complete with its own rituals, totems, and the occasional sadistic twist. Brilliant stuff - the wait was worth it.

  • Siobhan

    Water Shall Refuse Them is an retro coming-of-age novel with a horror edge, set in a heatwave in 1970s rural Wales. Sixteen-year-old Nif, her little brother Lorry, and her parents are spending the summer in a cottage in Wales following the death of her sister. Instead of healing, the sweltering atmosphere and isolation only exacerbates their problems: her mother's grief, her father's frustration, Nif's own belief in strange rituals that might bring her answers. Nif meets a strange teenage boy,

    Water Shall Refuse Them is an retro coming-of-age novel with a horror edge, set in a heatwave in 1970s rural Wales. Sixteen-year-old Nif, her little brother Lorry, and her parents are spending the summer in a cottage in Wales following the death of her sister. Instead of healing, the sweltering atmosphere and isolation only exacerbates their problems: her mother's grief, her father's frustration, Nif's own belief in strange rituals that might bring her answers. Nif meets a strange teenage boy, Mally, who has his own secrets, but neither he nor his mother Janet seem to be quite what the family need and the locals seem to hate them.

    The sense of atmosphere in the novel is impressive and unnerving, a kind of haze where heat and grief and twisted rituals float like logic. The combination of mundane and folk horror elements with retro coming-of-age give the story a real charge, and it feels like a very British twist on a style that may seem more American, from authors like Shirley Jackson. Grief and adolescence are made strange, whilst the logic of superstition and the power of belief are almost tangible. The senses are crucial too, with sound and scent prevalent and there being a feeling of the heatwave hanging over the entire story.

    This is a debut novel that allows for ambiguity and doesn't tell the reader everything, building up atmosphere and a really eerie sense of what might happen. In her wild and unsettled protagonist, Lucie McKnight Hardy creates a character both sympathetic and menacing, and in some ways the whole novel feels like following a trail littered with bad omens, much like the dead animals littered throughout the book. The writing and atmosphere is what really makes it memorable, as well as the unnerving line between superstitious horror and twisted human nature and emotion.

  • Alice Slater

    I absolutely loved this witchy ritualistic obsessive coming of age story, set in a remote English village during the heatwave of 1976. Languid, dark, tragic: it’s like The Wasp Factory meets The Girls, but also kind of like nothing else.

  • Robert

    At the moment Malta is going through a heatwave. When you go out the sun’s heat pounds at your head, sweat drips off you and everything is hazy. Thankfully I read Water Shall Refuse them in my air-conditioned living room but I could definitely relate to the book.

    The setting is the UK heatwave of 1976, the one that lasted a month and a half and temperatures went as high as 36 C. Nif’s (short for Jennifer) family (mother,father and younger brother) have just suffered a tragedy and are staying in

    At the moment Malta is going through a heatwave. When you go out the sun’s heat pounds at your head, sweat drips off you and everything is hazy. Thankfully I read Water Shall Refuse them in my air-conditioned living room but I could definitely relate to the book.

    The setting is the UK heatwave of 1976, the one that lasted a month and a half and temperatures went as high as 36 C. Nif’s (short for Jennifer) family (mother,father and younger brother) have just suffered a tragedy and are staying in rural Wales for a month in order to sort themselves out. Nif already has started some eccentric habits which she takes with her on this trip.

    Nif then meets Mal and she discovers a kindred soul and in the process uncover the secrets the village and unearth some peculiarities.

    Water Shall Refuse Them has a creepy factor which gets more intense as secrets are revealed. Mcknight cleverly does not reveal everything in the first chapter, rather teasing the reader and dropping clues and exposing secrets gradually. As I read the last half of the novel in the dark, I do admit that I did feel uneasy, especially during the conclusion. At times I was reminded of the looming sinister atmosphere that Iain Banks’ Wasp factory exudes, with the pastoral traces of The Wicker Man and the intensity of Ari Aster’s Hereditary, all reference points are positive for me.

    I enjoyed reading Water Shall Refuse Them. In a time where coming of age stories are common it’s refreshing to find one that stands out. Not only does this debut suck you in from page one but also manages to evoke that hot feeling of a heatwave. An immersive novel.

  • Jason

    When I was younger I used to love watching the old British hammer horror movies, there was a certain elegance to them that you just didn't get in other movies. This book is based in 1976 and in the middle of a long heatwave, everything feels slightly washed out, right from the off I got the same feeling of awe that I got when I started a hammer horror as a kid. Due to the heatwave, in the book, characters like Nif stand out more than they normally would. It's very clever writing to have created

    When I was younger I used to love watching the old British hammer horror movies, there was a certain elegance to them that you just didn't get in other movies. This book is based in 1976 and in the middle of a long heatwave, everything feels slightly washed out, right from the off I got the same feeling of awe that I got when I started a hammer horror as a kid. Due to the heatwave, in the book, characters like Nif stand out more than they normally would. It's very clever writing to have created something so visual with words.

    One of my favourite things about this book is the witchcraft, it is nothing like the billions of YA paranormal books, this witchcraft has a rawness to that makes it more real. Nif's family have had a recent tragedy and are struggling to hold themselves together. Nif in particular is struggling and has had way too much responsibility put on her, after a series of finds she develops a new religion based around The Creed. The family then borrow a cottage in a weird little Welsh village, where Nif tries to complete her spell.

    This is a wonderful book, the plot draws you in nicely, it is one of those rare books that is always on your mind when you've put it down. A fantastic debut, I'm gonna miss this one.

    Blog review:

  • Tom Mooney

    Jesus wept!

    This takes a long while to get going but the payoff is massive. It's as dark and disturbing a book as I've read in a long time, full of brooding violence, creepy religious ritual and with a killer ending.

    It reminded me a lot of The Wasp Factory, Shirley Jackson and, weirdly at times, Hot Fuzz.

    A strange, horrible, rewarding book that is close to - but not quite - great. Still, highly recommended!

  • Abbie | ab_reads

    Many thanks to @deadinkbooks for gifting me a copy of Water Shall Refuse Them - I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a sultry, oppressive read with a serious dark streak!

    .

    Nif and her family are still recovering from a tragic accident, deciding to spend a month in rural Wales to clear their heads. But the intense heatwave and strange influence of their new neighbours means their retreat is anything but restful, and Nif finds herself becoming more involved in the

    Many thanks to @deadinkbooks for gifting me a copy of Water Shall Refuse Them - I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a sultry, oppressive read with a serious dark streak!

    .

    Nif and her family are still recovering from a tragic accident, deciding to spend a month in rural Wales to clear their heads. But the intense heatwave and strange influence of their new neighbours means their retreat is anything but restful, and Nif finds herself becoming more involved in the occult as a way of forgetting what happened.

    .

    Witchcraft, small village drama, and a coming of age story all collide in this book, creating an atmosphere that is tangible. I loved Hardy’s writing, she has an eye for all things rotten and cruel (possibly worrying, but we love a bit of dark fiction), and there were passages that really made me feel uncomfortable. A few parts were maybe a bit heavy handed, but overall I enjoyed the effect!

    .

    Nif was a fascinating narrator, as she’s not at all likeable and it was quite unnerving to watch events unfold through her lens. Hardy does a great job with the other characters too, although I do agree with Jess’s @lunchpoems criticism that it was a bit tone deaf to refer to certain characters constantly by their weight - even though I get that Nif is not a good person and a teenager.

    .

    Definitely a good end-of-summer read exploring some very dark places!

  • Sarah

    3.5 rounded down

    My first venture into the "horror folk" genre, this is a creepy slow-burn of a novel set in the heatwave of '76. It sounds a bit silly but I think it helped that I read this in the mini heatwave we had earlier this month - the atmosphere was perfectly fitting for the sweaty, lazy afternoons I spent reading the novel. The setting is a Welsh valley village where the locals fear outsiders, especially the new arrivals - Nif, our teenage protagonist and her family. They move to the

    3.5 rounded down

    My first venture into the "horror folk" genre, this is a creepy slow-burn of a novel set in the heatwave of '76. It sounds a bit silly but I think it helped that I read this in the mini heatwave we had earlier this month - the atmosphere was perfectly fitting for the sweaty, lazy afternoons I spent reading the novel. The setting is a Welsh valley village where the locals fear outsiders, especially the new arrivals - Nif, our teenage protagonist and her family. They move to the village for the summer ostensibly to look after a cottage for a friend, but really they're there to escape the memories of the recent drowning of Nif's younger sister. The story takes place over a few short weeks in that summer, where Nif meets a local boy, Molly, and becomes interested in witchcraft.

    I think the comparisons to Shirley Jackson are fair (albeit generous), and I'd venture to say McKnight Hardy is one to watch - a promising debut.

  • Daniel

    I'm sorry but this re-telling of Scooby Doo on Zombie Island was just too predictable, unrealised and slightly naff.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.