The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
In her second novel, Scottish author Kirsty Logan builds a world that feels as real as it does magical
The Gloaming, Kirsty Logan’s second novel, takes its title from the Scots word for the period of dusk between sunset and night – and the novel itself sits in the gloaming of fiction, a fairytale straddling both fantasy and realism.
Like her previous work, Logan builds a world that feels as real as it does magical. Mara lives on a small Scottish island with her parents – an ex-boxer and an ex-ballerina – and younger brother and older sister. Mara’s island is as much a character as any of the novel’s people: a beautiful and turbulent setting where the sea clashes with the land, full of selkies and stone people. After a family tragedy, Mara’s joyful island childhood begins to crumble away as she’s left marooned on the island and stuck in her own life. However, when the mysterious Pearl, a swimmer in a mermaid show, turns up, things begin to turn around.
The Gloaming is a gorgeous old-fashioned love story of romantic love, and the love between parents and children, sisters and brothers. While on the surface it may seem like a whimsical fairytale, it’s how Logan deals with themes of trauma, grief, and loss through her magical metaphorical lens that makes the novel so impressive. [Katie Goh]