Reading Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley was a unique reading experience for me. Starting right after Halloween, it was the perfect eerie continuation of the spooky reading mood. Thank you to the teams at Tandem Collective and John Murray Press, for sending me a gifted copy of this book.
The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.
Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.
Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.
The writing in Starve Acre is so descriptive and very atmospheric. You can feel that odd vibe coming from the house and the field, as well as from the characters. The plot flows nicely and it’s quite an easy and fast-paced book to read. The plot twists and escalations are unexpected, and the author leaves a lot of questions unanswered, leaving it to the reader to form a conclusion. When we chatted in the readalong group, it was interesting to see that everyone had different perceptions of different scenes, which was quite intriguing to see.
Starve Acre focuses on grief. It shows that no two experiences can be the same, and that people react very differently. It also showed the evil in a way I have never seen it written before. Such horror, such cruelty, no remorse. Just pure darkness. It made my stomach twirl a few times, and I actually enjoyed it.
Even though Starve Acre left me shocked and speechless in the end, this was a book I really enjoyed and devoured with pleasure. If you are looking for a gothic horror read this winter – this is the perfect book for you!