The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

In her second novel, Scottish author Kirsty Logan builds a world that feels as real as it does magical

Book Review by Katie Goh | 26 Apr 2018
  • The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
Book title: The Gloaming
Author: Kirsty Logan

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]

Harvill Secker, 19 Apr, £12.99