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Blackmoor [Paperback]

Edward Hogan
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Mar 2009
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 are confirmed in their opinion that Beth is an ill omen. 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. It's the story of a community that fell apart, a young woman whose face didn't fit, and a past that refuses to go away.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (2 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847391265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847391261
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward Hogan was born in Derby in 1980 and now lives in Brighton. He is a graduate of the MA creative writing course at UEA and a recipient of the David Higham Award. His first novel, Blackmoor, was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Desmond Elliot Prize.

Product Description

About the Author

Edward Hogan is 26 years old and a graduate of the MA creative writing course at UEA and a recipient of the David Higham Award. BLACKMOOR is his first novel. He is a teacher and lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel I've read this year 19 May 2008
The language is beautiful and yet it's also page-turning. I read this book in a few sittings, staying up late into the night to finish it. The characters are engagingly complex, their situations intriguing. The setting is as absorbing as the characters. I spent the last week immersed in Hogan's world of disused mines and quarries, teenage-hideouts and barren bedrooms. Remarkable that this is the author's début.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what lies beneath 18 July 2008
A novel set in a mining village during the 1980's might lead you to expect something rather predictable; gritty northerners, trouble down't pit and plenty of politics. But with his first novel Hogan has created something far more interesting and unworldly. The cover gives some sense of that; the ethereal glow of the dress and the pale skin beneath it, not to mention that this is a woman at the centre of the story. The strange circumstances of her death are the secret that haunts this story, and the efforts of her son to uncover that past provide the second strand of Hogan's narrative. But the title is important too. The village of Blackmoor is as much a character in this book as any of its inhabitants, and just as John Burnside created such a haunting presence with Innertown in his recent novel Glister, Hogan skillfully creates a myth around another landscape eaten away by industry.

Beth has always been marked out as different. Born 'a long shot' on the 29th February 1956 'the doctor noticed her extreme pallor and that extreme movement of the eyes. The pupils swayed slowly from side to side, or else trembled like a clenched fist'. Her albinism has always made others keep their distance, but George Cartwright becomes fascinated by her at school, almost stalking her, and eventually these two outcasts are married. After the birth of their son, Vincent, Beth suffers from severe post-natal depression and the strains on their marriage are only exacerbated by the events in Blackmoor.

After the collapse of the mining industry Blackmoor is a village in decay. What Hogan avoids is the '...romanticized idea of coalmining towns, informed mainly by the funny parts of the film Kes and repeats of Ridley Scott's Hovis advertisment on The Best One Hundred Adverts of All Time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Debut Novel 28 Mar 2009
An excellent debut novel from this 26 year old author, although when reading it you would never guess this is his first book.

The subject and title of the book - Blackmoor - is a old, decaying pit village on the borders of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Blackmoor pit was closed completely after the miner's strike and the village is slowly subsiding and in danger from gases that are building up in the disused pit. Eventually,British Coal decided to demolish Blackmoor and move the residents to a ready made new village just up the road. Beth, her husband and their small son Vincent will never actually live in the new village - this is the story of the disintegration of their little family. Beth is a little different to the usual mining wives - and suffers with mental health problems. The story of how her husband and son cope is the basis of the book.

This is a beautiful read in places - it is quite stark, the language is spare and to the point, but very poignant in places.

I really enjoyed this and look forward to more from this author
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 6 May 2008
Read this in a weekend as it was a cracker! Gets to grips with the conflict that exists within small communities and the attitude that is often prevalent towards "difference" and "outsiders". In spite of the fact that some of the characters are less than pleasant the author manages to inspire a sense of empathy for them. It is not a linear narrative - there are frequent jumps in time, but these in no way detract from the story telling, they enhance the sense of drama and intrigue. Not an easy book to categorise but full of twists and turns!!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mining village with a tale to tell. 12 Jun 2009
For a first novel this isn't half-bad. Beth's world is one I was immediately interested in and, despite her albinism and nystagmus, a world in which she coped well - for a while. It is her inevitable breakdown that causes her husband, George, to alienate himself from her and their young son, Vincent. Growing up, Vincent tries his best to find out as much as he can about his mother, but his father holds everything close to his chest. To even think of her breaks his heart. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.
Blackmoor is a mining village: a close-knit community at the beck and call of the mine owners. When they are let down by the big bosses they turn to Michael Jenkins, a politician who may have an agenda of his own. The book moves from past to present effortlessly, telling Vincent's story and that of his parents with a simplicity not found in many new books. However, sometimes this simplicity left me yearning for things to get a little more complex. This is a story where the characters are the key, occasionally in need of a little more plot, though. I can't wait to see more from this promising author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written but disappointingly plotted 22 Oct 2010
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Although it is nicely written and the basic concept for the story is a good one, Blackmoor is an oddly uninvolving book. It's well paced and quite gripping in parts, but I found it impossible to develop a relationship with any of the characters. The early parts of the book, before the true nature of the events in Blackmoor are understood, work better than the later ones.

Several promising threads of storyline fizzle out without excitement. Even the over-arcing story of the teenage boy finding out the truth about his mother has a flat, disappointing end. Hogan has lots of great ideas for elements in the story that could have been used to accelerate it to an exciting conclusion, but then chooses to let each become a damp squib.

So whilst it was quite enjoyable to read, I wouldn't give this book more than three stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down
Had the potential to be a gripping read, but felt the characters weren't developed and the story just fell flat for me
Published 11 months ago by genie60
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
I really enjoyed this. Hogan's account of a Northern mining community is beautifully realised with simple, yet elegant prose. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2011 by BazBelfast
5.0 out of 5 stars Blackmoor
I loved this book. It has such an unusual subject - the 'death 'of a village - and fascinating characters. Read more
Published on 25 April 2011 by Dodie
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated
Great writing but the story did not hold my interest, finished in 3 hours after skipping through the moor.
Published on 3 Nov 2009 by Huge
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
This book was not for me. Very boring and didn't feel that it should be set late 20th century, just didn't seem to fit. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2009 by Darwin
1.0 out of 5 stars No point to the Tale
I bought this on the recommendation of the reviews and was SO disappointed. There seems to be absolutely no point to the story - it covers the mundane lives of the occupants of a... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2009 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Boozing Bruising Beautiful Blackmoor
For a debut this is a very impressive novel, in dealing with estrangement the author shows some deft touches in vernacular and verve, sentiment never sentimental. Read more
Published on 30 July 2009 by Mr. B. Eden
4.0 out of 5 stars Spot On
I was going to write my own review for this execllent book. However the review by William Rycroft is so'SPOT ON' there's nothing else to say.
Published on 28 April 2009 by Mrs. Audrey Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Very Good Debut
Blackmoor is set in a village of the same name in Derbyshire, where I was born, and tells two stories. Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2009 by Simon Savidge Reads
5.0 out of 5 stars unexpectedly good.
I was pleasantly surprised by Edward Hogan's Blackmoor. I expected a formulaic yarn but - I couldn't have been more wrong. The characters are believeable, likeable and intriguing. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2009 by Granty
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