Timothy Buchannan buys an abandoned house on the edge of an isolated village on the coast, sight unseen. When he sees the state of it he questions the wisdom of his move, but starts to renovate the house for his wife, Lauren to join him there.
When the villagers see smoke rising from the chimney of the neglected house they are disturbed and intrigued by the presence of the incomer, intrigue that begins to verge on obsession.
The longer Timothy stays, the more deeply he becomes entangled in the unsettling experience of life in the small village.
Ethan, a fisherman, is particularly perturbed by Timothy’s arrival, but accedes to Timothy’s request to take him out to sea. They set out along the polluted coastline, hauling in weird fish from the contaminated sea, catches that are bought in whole and removed from the village. Timothy starts to ask questions about the previous resident of his house, Perran, questions to which he receives only oblique answers and increasing hostility.
As Timothy forges on despite the villagers’ animosity and the code of silence around Perran, he starts to question what has brought him to this place and is forced to confront a painful truth.
The Many is an unsettling tale that explores the impact of loss and the devastation that hits when the foundations on which we rely are swept away.
Praise for The Many
‘An intriguing, evocative and formally ambitious debut.’ —Luke Brown, Financial Times
'It would be wrong to give away the precise reasons for his protagonist’s state, but as Menmuir’s allegory becomes decipherable, it is increasingly affecting, and the moment when we understand how the bay and its darkly looming ships might be the warped echo of an earlier, shattering scene is one of great power.’ —Stephanie Cross, The Observer
‘Menmuir’s homespun horror has flashes of Daphne du Maurier’s ghost-gothic and John Wyndham’s dystopia while displaying its own individuality and flair … Menmuir steers a steady course; the result is profound and discomfiting, and deserving of multiple readings.’ —Catherine Taylor, The Guardian
‘an intriguing first novel’ —Fiona Wilson, The Times
‘He deserves 10 out of 10 when it comes to the creation of atmosphere, and Menmuir can certainly write… A writer to watch.’ —The Independent
‘The sparse prose is dark and intense, strikingly written with a haunting quality that sends shivers through the soul.’ —neverimitate
‘This book is powerfully written and haunting. Always teetering on the edge of the gothic, Menmuir describes a coastal community that is dreamlike, slightly out of focus, with its own rules that Timothy never grasps.’ —Blue Book Balloon
‘At about the two-thirds point, I started to realize that I was not reading a conventional, if slightly off-kilter and moody, story about a man having a hard time getting his life back together in a semi-hostile village. No, The Many is a horrific, beautifully horrific, tale that I cannot shake.’ —The Mookse and the Gripes
‘One of those rare stories that once you have reached the end you start reading it all over again... Wyl Menmuir’s style is wholly original, it grips one with its exquisitely chiselled style to create a stunningly beautiful and memorable novel much like the Cornish coast is.’ —Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, Confessions of an avid bibliophile
‘I found myself totally gripped. The kind of book where you end it still wanting answers and yet are unsure of the questions. It’s a wonderful book and the first book I’ve finished this year that I immediately wanted to read again.’ —Information Overlord
‘A parable on ecological destruction, a commentary on monotony and parochialness, an obscure examination of sorrow, an investigation into the mysterious workings of the psyche – The Many is weird and disorienting, yes, but original and wonderful too.’ —On Art and Aesthetics
‘If it is possible to describe a book as being rich on spare detail then The Many is it, like a stock reduced to its very essence.’ —Dovegreyreader