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The Gloaming


3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,349 ratings  ·  247 reviews
Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they cl
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 19th 2018 by Harvill Secker
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Callum McLaughlin No, it's only related to The Gracekeepers in the 'spiritual' sense. This means it shares a common tone and themes, but is completely separate in terms…moreNo, it's only related to The Gracekeepers in the 'spiritual' sense. This means it shares a common tone and themes, but is completely separate in terms of character and plot. They can be read individually, or in either order. Enjoy! :) (less)

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’Ahead of her was only this: dozens of bodies turned to stone, and then the edge of the cliff. The glimmer of rocks. The lure and chew of the waves.’’

When I read Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, I thought I would never find another novel to make me feel as if I had entered a world of magic where feelings and thoughts are born through powers beyond our material universe, through legends of times unseen. And my thought was correct until ...The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan came my way. It brought me t
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kirsty Logan writes a beautifully imagined tale of magic, folklore and fairytales with a strong undertow of darker forces juxtaposed with a gritty realism. Logan achieves the feat with her world building that is sufficiently nebulous and ambiguous in giving the reader the path of seeing and interpreting the novel as they wish. The narrative focuses on the issues of identity, what it is to be a woman, loss, grief and love with Logan drawing us in with her sublime atmospheric prose and description ...more
Charlotte May
"You can want something...and also be terrified that it will hurt you."

Ok...where to start with The Gloaming. I'm just going to come out and say it - I was disappointed.
I absolutely ADORED The Gracekeepers, so when we were promised a prequel I could not wait!

First of all, the good. Kirsty Logan's writing is BEAUTIFUL. It is lyrical, and magical and dark, it completely sweeps you away.
My problem with it can be split into 2 main issues.

1) There is no particular story or plot line. There are load
Dannii Elle
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

Residing in a mansion, renowned for its once glory but falling daily into further disrepair, and situated on an island overlooked by the stone remains of the deceased is Mara, daughter of a ballerina and a boxer. The arrival of part-time mermaid, Pearl, ignites the ashes of a passion inside Mara. This passion is a desire to see what would happen if she would dare to take a step off the island, and enter the chaos of reality that lies beyond it. But the island has its ow
Renee Godding
"We can't carry our whole lives with us everywhere we go. Memories have weight, and no one can lift them all at ones. We have to leave some of them behind."

5/5 stars, all time favorite

Often, I love books with my head. I love the way they’re written, the stories they tell, the words they chose. Sometimes these books linger like ghosts in the back of my mind, and slowly creep their way down into my heart, to claim their place as all-time favorites.
Rarely, I love books directly with my heart. T
Emer (A Little Haze)
A book of quiet beauty with a most haunting of storylines... That sadly bored me to tears. No matter how hard I tried I could not engage with these characters, I found reading a chore.

Sometimes a book just doesn't fit with a reader because of circumstances outside of everyone's control. I feel this is one of those times.

The storyline was so magical, so ethereal... The mix between reality and folklore should have worked for me.
The beautiful exploration of the feminine should have worked... Thi
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

I wish Netgalley had made it very clear that this was a prequel to The Gracekeepersas I think the story would have had an even deeper meaning for me had I read that book first.

But this story had its own merits and charm. The writing was at times mesmerising making you feel like you are coming up for air when you stop reading.

The story is not permeated by magical realism except for one little detail. Once a person reaches a certain age they slowly turn to stone, finally make their painfu
“Islands are about balance, and they each have their own rules. It’s tricky to get it right: the sea always wants things to change, the land wants them to stay the same. Everyone finds their own balance, and sometimes they get it right. But sometimes – far more often – they get it wrong.”

The Gloaming is a coming-of-age novel that brims over with bewitching imagination, beautiful language, in addition to its enchanting twisted fairy tales, and, as the writer herself puts it, it is “a queer me
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
“We can't carry our whole lives with us everywhere we go. Memories have weight, and no one can lift them all at once. We have to leave some of them behind.”

Home, both as a tangible entity and as a symbol, is treacherous in its portmanteau denoting. It liberates one from the claustrophobic expectations of the society, but it also binds one obsessively to its roots. It empowers one to celebrate the strength of familial identity, but it also imprisons one within its folds. It betokens an element
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't think it was possible but I loved this even more than The Gracekeepers.

Written in alluring and lush prose, this story drips nostalgia, melancholia and darkness. It's a fusion of myths, fairy tales and brutal reality told in poetic prose. It's a tale of the sea, of mermaids, of loss, of motherhood, of grief, of sickness and – above all – a tale of the devastatingly unyielding nature, taking lives without mercy or reason.

It's beautiful. It's horrible. It's unforgettable.

To stay in the gl
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeously, luxuriously dark follow up to Kirsty's debut. My heart sang, my heart broke and I couldn't put the damn thing down. Utterly brilliant. ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Sep 20, 2020 added it
Shelves: audio
If you're looking for something beautiful, mysterious and a little bit magical, then consider The Gloaming as your next read! I read The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan a few years ago and honestly I was kind of underwhelmed, I remember I thought there were too many perspectives for me to care deeply about the characters. Well The Gloaming is touted as a 'spiritual prequel to the Gracekeepers', which I just?? That doesn't make sense to me, but I think maybe I've just forgotten all of the details of ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2020. reread.

This book still breaks my heart and then puts it together all the same. This is my favorite book, there's no competition.


I have just finished The Gloaming by the amazing Kirsty Logan and she again raised the bar for any future book I will pick up. It was utterly amazing, it tugged on my heartstrings, breaking my heart and healing it at the same time. This story focuses on a family, an island, stories, hope, grief and love. And it was magical.

“The world was so full of magic th
Confession: I would not have read this had I not Goodreads-known the author. (Hi, Kirsty! I liked your book!)
And you're looking at the cover, thinking to yourself, "But this looks exactly like the kind of book you read."
You are correct. It is. But it's not in either of my library districts and I'm not one to go through tons of effort to get my hands on a book when I am surrounded by so many other books that need reading.
But then! We somehow got an audio copy of The Gracekeepers on Overdrive. I a
First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second Kirsty Logan novel I've read, and The Gloaming reminded me of The Gracekeepers in a lot of ways - good and bad.

Let's start with the good: Logan's prose is gorgeously evocative, conjuring up wild landscapes, dreamy tenderness and all-too-human awkwardness with equal ease. This is definitely a fairy tale of sorts, and her writing style is perfect
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While reading The Gloaming, I felt like I was transported to that point in my childhood, when I discovered fairy tales. The reason behind this wave of nostalgia is because Kirsty Logan’s writing has a magical quality to it and she includes Scottish mythology in this book which enhances the reading experience. However Logan is clever and uses myth to probe into deeper subjects.

The main protagonist of the book is Mara, a girl who lives on an island, where old people go to a cliff edge to die (they
Moray Teale
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the island where Mara and her family live people don’t die, the go to the cliff where they remain, gazing out to sea with the waves crashing beneath, their presence a haunting reminder of what is to come for the islanders. And Mara’s family is haunted by many things, long-ago decisions, new desires and a devastating loss that has scarred Mara inside and out. A new arrival seems to finally offer the chance to move on but the budding relationship brings challenges of its own.
I’ve been waiting
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Reseña en español // English review here

The Ross family decided to move to a remote island with their two daughters to live a more peaceful life. A large, pink-ish and abandoned mansion makes for their new home; however, despite their feigned efforts, it will never be completely renovated. Truthfully, it will never be anything but a house in ruins. Come hell or high water, the Ross family seeks desperately for a place to stay grounded. Mirroring the family's desire, the nameless island
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018-reads
This story is a fantastical meld of folk/fairy tales and magical realism. I have read very little magical realism before so found it a little hard going to begin with but the story itself was captivating and I became so invested in the characters that I couldn't put the book (Kindle) away and had to stay up late to finish it off (within 24 hours).

We follow the Ross family through a tragic accident which affects each family member in a completely different way. We go back in time to the meeting o
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Ok I'm not going to lie I was so shook at so many parts of this book, tears, heart beating uncontrollably fast, heart almost stopping, you name it! Biggest shock I think was finding out who the narrator is (it could have been mentioned earlier in the book but I forget). I absolutely loved that each chapter title had it's own meaning and that Signe's and Peter's chapters had names based on their former careers. Logan really put thought into every moment of this book and I can't wait to read more ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
A beautiful story filled with gorgeous writing about magic, love, wonder, and family.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A warning: Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is another of 2018’s promised mermaid novels that’s a little short on actual mermaids. However, it’s long on atmosphere, imagination, and a charming lesbian love story. Islay, Mara and Barra have grown up on a tiny Scottish island, after their parents, Signe and Peter, brought them there when the two eldest girls were very small. Signe and Peter have compelling backstories of their own; Signe was once a professional ballet dancer, reaching the pinnacle of h ...more
Callum McLaughlin
I read The Gloaming in just two sittings. Having been instantly swept up by its tone of melancholy and quiet magic, I simply didn't want to put it down.

Above all else, it's a book about stories; how integral they are to our very existence; how they change over time; the things we add to them and the parts we choose to forget because they're just too painful; how no two people interpret a story in the same way, but how no version is any less true. From losing ourselves in books to the lies we dr
Sarah Dorothea
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 out of 5 stars! ⭐ OH WOW! That was an absolutely beautiful read that was, I feel so nostalgic, now that I'm done reading this novel. 'The Gloaming' is a gorgeous tale of love and grief, and the gap between fairy tales and real life. It's an outlandish coming-of-age story, in which Kirsty Logan blurs the line between sea and land as elegantly as it blends real life and mermaid tales. I love how Marianne Gusti managed to capture so beautifully what the book is about and I had to add it to my rev ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 / 5

A strange book that I marked as "atmospheric" on my list, which is technically the highest compliment for me and yet I did not love this book. I couldn't quite place it. Was it fairytale or a lesson on real life through a fairytale? A story about grief and how we cope? A story about learning what love is? Atmospheric though, it was, no doubt about that.

I loved it as a modern fairytale, I loved it for the scottish chapter names, the flowy, the dreamlike feel, the strong focus on the ocea
Karen Mace
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was a fan of The Gracekeepers, but think I actually preferred this story as I felt it was better structured and felt more emotional and easier to connect with. But I will be going back to read The Gracekeepers now this story is fresh in my mind as the prequel.

The cover is stunning, and the story is full of magical realism, beautifully written and is one of those books you can just pick up and lose yourself in! And that is exactly what I did!

Signe and Peter are the parents to 3 children - Mara,
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub, 2018, fantasy
Her mind was loud and white and chaotic, like a dozen swans taking flight.

3.5 stars. I love magical realism, but have realized that this is one of the genres where finding new books are quite difficult. So, I am very happy to add Kirsty Logan as a go-to author.

The setting, an unnamed Scottish island that slowly turns its inhabitants to stone, is mysterious and magical. The Gloaming tracks the lives of the Ross family: ...the fighter, the bird, the beauty, the changeling and the golden boy., spec
Lauren James
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan - magic and fairy tales, families and death, stone and water and bones. The writing is so poetic and easy to read, and I swallowed it up.
Gianna Lorandi
3.5 stars. It's hard for me to write a review about this book, in a way I loved the whimsical atmosphere and freshness of it all - I don't think I've read something quite like it. At the same time, I'm not entirely sure what the author wanted from the plot, it seemed to have gone in different directions and ended in very unsatisfying way.
I enjoyed the ambiguity of the characters and the whole island setting, the writing matches the feel of the book being almost fairy tale like. I'm intrigued abo
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Kirsty Logan is a professional daydreamer. She is the author of two novels, The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, and two story collections, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. Her fifth book, Things We Say in the Dark, will be published on Halloween 2019.

Kirsty lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog. She has tattooed toes.

Other books in the series

Gracekeepers (2 books)
  • The Gracekeepers

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“Why would you think that I would only like you when you’re nice? I like you like this,’ she said, ‘and I like you not like this, and I like you every way you can possibly be.” 2 likes
“To stay in the gloaming is to hold off the night. But if the night never comes, then neither can the day.” 2 likes
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