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 Mally, a teen boy who takes a keen interest in her, and has his own secret rites to divulge. Reminiscent of the suspense of Shirley Jackson and soaked in the folk horror of the British landscape, Water Shall Refuse Them is an atmospheric coming-of-age novel and a thrilling debut.

Water Shall Refuse Them Details

TitleWater Shall Refuse Them
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 4th, 2019
PublisherDead Ink
ISBN-139781911585565
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Fantasy

Water Shall Refuse Them Review

  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    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 a 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. I jerked round, expecting to see someone. Nothing, only the relentless stillness and the flat colours of a depleted landscape. Already, I could see the familiar shimmer of heat that rose from the lane, making the grass verge tremble and threaten to disappear. When you’re reading it, you’re there: 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 read about 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 Water Shall Refuse Them without thinking about Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney. 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. Water Shall Refuse Them 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 do ‘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.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    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 r 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.
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  • Alice Slater
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Dan Coxon
    January 1, 1970
    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 r 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.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    (On reflection this is probably more of a 3.5 rounded down than up but I'll leave my initial rating for now.)3.5 rounded upMy 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 fea (On reflection this is probably more of a 3.5 rounded down than up but I'll leave my initial rating for now.)3.5 rounded upMy 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.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sorry but this re-telling of Scooby Doo on Zombie Island was just too predictable, unrealised and slightly naff.
  • Siobhan
    January 1, 1970
    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, M 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.
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  • Horror DNA
    January 1, 1970
    Depending on where you are in the world, you’re most likely experiencing some unusual weather (hello, climate change). Here in the UK we’re complaining about the soaring heat and lack of rain (our poor grass!), we love a moan, especially when it comes to weather. So the timing of Lucie Mcknight Hardy’s first novel is quite perfect. The heatwave depicted in Water Shall Refuse Them is written is such detail that sweat could be dripping from the pages, the suffocating heat intensifies the spirallin Depending on where you are in the world, you’re most likely experiencing some unusual weather (hello, climate change). Here in the UK we’re complaining about the soaring heat and lack of rain (our poor grass!), we love a moan, especially when it comes to weather. So the timing of Lucie Mcknight Hardy’s first novel is quite perfect. The heatwave depicted in Water Shall Refuse Them is written is such detail that sweat could be dripping from the pages, the suffocating heat intensifies the spiralling relationships in the story, making it a claustrophobic read that escalates as the book progresses.You can read Charlotte's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.
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  • Andy Weston
    January 1, 1970
    Folk tales seem to be the vibe at the moment, this following hot on the heels of the likes of Lanny and Ghost Wall . Their settings in the British countryside remind us that such stories are all a part of our heritage, often passed on across generations just by word of mouth. Set an unnamed Welsh town, this is a disturbing story that works well, as from the start the writing is full of ambiguity, the reader drip-fed information that just enables a picture to be built up of what is going on. T Folk tales seem to be the vibe at the moment, this following hot on the heels of the likes of Lanny and Ghost Wall . Their settings in the British countryside remind us that such stories are all a part of our heritage, often passed on across generations just by word of mouth. Set an unnamed Welsh town, this is a disturbing story that works well, as from the start the writing is full of ambiguity, the reader drip-fed information that just enables a picture to be built up of what is going on. There’s a slow start and it isn’t until the last chapters that the pace increases to a crescendo of the monstrous variety.
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  • Charles Thorpe
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put this book down. There's a centripetal force to the narrative that pulls you with it, and you find you're being sucked deeper and deeper toward the center of a mystery, a dark and nasty black hole. It left me feeling profoundly unsettled. It somehow taps into feelings that I think everyone experiences in childhood about order and chaos and the excitement and fear of transgression. It explores the mystery of human beings and who they really are and can they be trusted. The writing m I couldn't put this book down. There's a centripetal force to the narrative that pulls you with it, and you find you're being sucked deeper and deeper toward the center of a mystery, a dark and nasty black hole. It left me feeling profoundly unsettled. It somehow taps into feelings that I think everyone experiences in childhood about order and chaos and the excitement and fear of transgression. It explores the mystery of human beings and who they really are and can they be trusted. The writing manages to totally envelop the reader in the mind of the protagonist.
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  • Daniel Carpenter
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating and creepy folk horror novel set during a heatwave in the 70's. McKnight Hardy does a great job building the tension between outsiders in a small Welsh town and the fervently religious townsfolk. There are shades of Shirley Jackson and, as other reviewers have pointed out, The Wasp Factory about this - and there is a distinct gothic vibe throughout that Iain Banks' debut also shares, but this is less interested in the macabre Gorey set pieces that The Wasp Factory indulges in, opting Fascinating and creepy folk horror novel set during a heatwave in the 70's. McKnight Hardy does a great job building the tension between outsiders in a small Welsh town and the fervently religious townsfolk. There are shades of Shirley Jackson and, as other reviewers have pointed out, The Wasp Factory about this - and there is a distinct gothic vibe throughout that Iain Banks' debut also shares, but this is less interested in the macabre Gorey set pieces that The Wasp Factory indulges in, opting instead for a slower burn, with bags of atmosphere to boot.
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  • Alexandra Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    A good but not great book. I love a bit of Folk Horror, but felt this relied more on stereotypes of village people than conjuring up the untameable power of nature or the eerieness you can find in folk tales and lore. I also saw the end coming. It's far from terrible, and I know a lot of people will love it, but I found it a little disappointing.
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  • L.P. Ring
    January 1, 1970
    Really well-paced. There is a constant sense of unease throughout and the reader never feels as if the story is padded out (a real gripe of mine). Thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in not-so-Merry Old England of the last century or with an interest in folk horror.
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  • Victoria Ellis
    January 1, 1970
    Water Shall Refuse Them id the debut novel of Welsh writer Lucie McKnight Hardy. I was lucky enough to meet Lucie on one of her Waterstones tour stops and get my copy signed, as Water Shall Refuse Them is Waterstones' Welsh Book of the Month. When I first read the synopsis it sounded very similar to Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle which I first read a couple of years back (and coincidentally I intended to re-read this month ahead of the film's UK release on July 29th) and lo Water Shall Refuse Them id the debut novel of Welsh writer Lucie McKnight Hardy. I was lucky enough to meet Lucie on one of her Waterstones tour stops and get my copy signed, as Water Shall Refuse Them is Waterstones' Welsh Book of the Month. When I first read the synopsis it sounded very similar to Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle which I first read a couple of years back (and coincidentally I intended to re-read this month ahead of the film's UK release on July 29th) and lover's of Jackson will know that it's a tough bar to meet. Water Shall Refuse Them met that bar with ease. This novel was enchanting from the first sentence to the very last and I could not stop reading. Nif was a fascinating character perspective as she describes her experiences living in this Welsh village for the summer. Her coming-of-age journey was perfect, and while I did see one reveal coming that did not detract from the overall experience of reading this novel. Lucie brilliantly captures this suffocating ominous sense that something bad has happened, is happening, and will happen to the point that no page feels safe. I will eagerly await Lucie next book, and in the meantime devour this all over again. This is not a novel you want to miss!
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  • Jacqueline Grima
    January 1, 1970
    Water Shall Refuse Them tells the story of 16-year-old Nif. In an attempt to escape the repercussions of a family tragedy, Nif, along with her parents and younger brother Lorry, head to rural Wales in the summer heatwave of 1976, the change of scenery and their attempts at reconciliation seeming only to fracture the family further and bring Nif's anxieties even closer to the surface. Suddenly faced with insular village life, outsider status, hostile locals and her complex feelings towards her ch Water Shall Refuse Them tells the story of 16-year-old Nif. In an attempt to escape the repercussions of a family tragedy, Nif, along with her parents and younger brother Lorry, head to rural Wales in the summer heatwave of 1976, the change of scenery and their attempts at reconciliation seeming only to fracture the family further and bring Nif's anxieties even closer to the surface. Suddenly faced with insular village life, outsider status, hostile locals and her complex feelings towards her charismatic new friend Mally, Nif turns to an invented form of ritualistic witchcraft to help her cope, in particular 'The Creed', a sinister collection of natural objects that becomes the focus of her feral teenage years.Bringing to mind David Pinner's 1967 novel Ritual (The Wicker Man) and Andrew Michael Hurley's The Loney, Water Shall Refuse Them is a brilliantly dark and atmospheric novel, the suffocating heat of that dusty summer and the tension that surrounds the family simmering as Nif's story unfolds. A highly recommended debut and I look forward to reading more by this author!
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  • John Rennie
    January 1, 1970
    I found this a very atmospheric book. Partly this is because I remember the long hot summer of 1976 and indeed I would have been about Nif's age at the time. I also lived in a small village in a valley, in the Mendip hills not the Welsh mountains, though fortunately the inhabitants weren't as weird as those in Hardy's book.The book evokes a wonderful feeling of creeping tawdriness. Everything is hot and grimy and all the characters are pretty repellent - there are no good people in this book. Th I found this a very atmospheric book. Partly this is because I remember the long hot summer of 1976 and indeed I would have been about Nif's age at the time. I also lived in a small village in a valley, in the Mendip hills not the Welsh mountains, though fortunately the inhabitants weren't as weird as those in Hardy's book.The book evokes a wonderful feeling of creeping tawdriness. Everything is hot and grimy and all the characters are pretty repellent - there are no good people in this book. The book is all about the atmosphere. There is almost no plot and what plot exists is very slow moving. If the atmosphere doesn't grab you I suspect you'd find the book pretty tedious, so I suspect views of the book will differ widely. I enjoyed it, but then as I mentioned above it struck a personal chord with me.It isn't a long book, so I'd recommend you give it a try. If the book has't grabbed you in the first few chapters you can always drop it.
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  • BucketOfEntrails
    January 1, 1970
    I think I was expecting something else from this book but unfortunately it turned out to be a somewhat predictable and ultimately very unsatisfying read. The foreshadowing throughout is about as subtle as a sledgehammer and you'll see the ending coming from about page 20. Disappointing. (Also there is a LOT of animal cruelty throughout this so take care with that.)
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  • Adrian
    January 1, 1970
    Effective - well written and creepy. Deserves the Shirley Jackson comparisons
  • Nicola
    January 1, 1970
    Strong, compelling, and above all, disquieting. I wasn't expecting the reveal to be an active transgression - I thought it would have been a failure on Nif's part, a favouritism as strong as her mother's rather than borne of it; and now I'm left wondering how much her father knows, how much he suspects.Written and read in a summer haze.
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  • Rachel Louise Atkin
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Dead Ink, who are a small UK based company publishing off-the-wall, innovative, and intelligent works of fiction. I requested this because it was marketed as a Shirley Jackson-esque, coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s, which ticked the boxes of things that I love in fiction.The novel opens with our main character, Nif, riding in the backseat of her family car, cradling a head in her lap. And it's a head that isn't attached to a body. This open I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Dead Ink, who are a small UK based company publishing off-the-wall, innovative, and intelligent works of fiction. I requested this because it was marketed as a Shirley Jackson-esque, coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s, which ticked the boxes of things that I love in fiction.The novel opens with our main character, Nif, riding in the backseat of her family car, cradling a head in her lap. And it's a head that isn't attached to a body. This opening image immediately sets the tone for a novel which takes cues from the surreal, village-horror of writers like Shirley Jackson and Eudora Welty. Nif moves with her family to Wales for short while during the heatwave of the summer, where they are trying to escape a devastating family tragedy which has turned her mother into a recluse. What I really liked about this novel was the degree to which Hardy had gone to channel the history of folk-horror. The horror in this book was very subtley done through the suggestion of whichcraft, incantation, village secrets and murder. Instead, I felt that the focus of the book was Nif's coming-of-age story where the horror aspects lay in the background. I enjoyed seeing Nif confront both her family and herself as she comes to terms with the tragedy that has changed them. She has fights with the local village teenagers, befriends the basketcase, Mally, and has her first sexual experiences. We also learn about the 'Creed' which is something that Nif uses to keep positive and negative energy around her at balance. The coming-of-age aspects, combined with her being the new girl in a small village where her family isn't really welcome really gave it an American horror sort of vibe.I'm ultimately giving this three stars however, because there were parts that I felt needed more development. I would've loved to have found out more about the 'Creed' and where it had come from, what it actually was and how it all worked. Like I said before, the horror here was subtle but at times it felt like it was almost too subtle. There were plot points about the head I mentioned at the start which weren't really answered by the end of the novel, and characters such as Mally's mother and Nif's mother who were really important to the story, but seemed to be just forgotten in favour for a revelation regarding Nif at the very end.Unfortunately I felt that the end and it's reveal was also very rushed, and would've liked a bigger build up, more explanation, more about the villagers and the potions, just a little more to make the whole story a lot more tied together instead of ending with a lot of loose ends. I think this is what ultimately let the book down which was a shame, because the atmosphere of this novel was brilliant, along with the setting and the premise.This was a really fascinating book to read, and I ended really loving the characters and the general vibe, yet felt there was some elements to it that let it down. Nevertheless, this couldn't stop me from enjoying it and I was really sucked into the lives that had been created. If Hardy continues to write stories following in this fashion I would love to read them. I can only hope that her writing continues to develop so that she can more write novels that look back to the horror we know and love today.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I received a proof of this from the publisher as it is described as a Shirley Jackson novel in Wales so I was sold to begin with.This is a coming of age novel about 16 year old Nif, who has just moved to a rural village with her family after the accidental drowning of her younger sister.This is such a fast read and is really well paced so you constantly say "just one more chapter".
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  • Kathryn Miller
    January 1, 1970
    An atmospheric and well-written book which is just slightly the wrong length. As a novella it could have been enigmatic and suggestive, or with some of the slighter plot threads and ideas developed more it could have become a satisfying longer novel. As it is, it's just long enough to feel a little too repetitive, for the reader's deduction and imagination to get far enough ahead of the pace of revelation that the second half of the novel lacks punch or pace, and we have time to see the eventual An atmospheric and well-written book which is just slightly the wrong length. As a novella it could have been enigmatic and suggestive, or with some of the slighter plot threads and ideas developed more it could have become a satisfying longer novel. As it is, it's just long enough to feel a little too repetitive, for the reader's deduction and imagination to get far enough ahead of the pace of revelation that the second half of the novel lacks punch or pace, and we have time to see the eventual twists coming from rather too far away.A lot of the characters are a little too familiar and/or a little too undeveloped to really come to life or feel like they are being observed from a very particular point of view. The depressed mother and her faded beauty, the mysterious outsider boy, the petty and susperstitious villagers. The final-act behaviour of a couple of the characters feels a bit hollow and unbelievable compared to their previous writing.The better books this could have been are a little too visible but in itself it is still an intriguing read which successfully evokes an uneasy and disturbing atmosphere.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This has been billed as a Shirley Jackson-like tale of folk horror/coming of age. Witches in the 70s. Okay, I said, I’m in.I can’t remember the last time a book disappointed me this much. Please, forget the comparison with Shirley Jackson. Jackson’s prose is alive, gleaming with wit. The prose in Water Shall Refuse Them is turgid, focussing on the minute actions of each character as they make tea, as they eat, as they walk. I got very impatient with the book and by the time I reached the “twist” This has been billed as a Shirley Jackson-like tale of folk horror/coming of age. Witches in the 70s. Okay, I said, I’m in.I can’t remember the last time a book disappointed me this much. Please, forget the comparison with Shirley Jackson. Jackson’s prose is alive, gleaming with wit. The prose in Water Shall Refuse Them is turgid, focussing on the minute actions of each character as they make tea, as they eat, as they walk. I got very impatient with the book and by the time I reached the “twist” I was actually angry. So frustrating because the book could have been something else entirely.
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  • Deb Lancaster
    January 1, 1970
    3.5Dirty little tale. Sticky little book. Hateful main character. Interesting and evocative.
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