Format: paperback, B format, 198 x 129mm, 256pp
Barry Gornell was born in Liverpool and now lives on the West Coast of Scotland. He is supported by his wife. He is a novelist/screenwriter, ex fire-fighter, truck driver and book shop manager.
21 of 22 children in a rural village die in a disaster. By chance, the ‘wrong’ child, Dog Evans, lives. Crippled with survivor’s guilt, his parents abandon Evans to a feral life at the margins. He is shunned by those left behind, for whom his presence is a daily insult, a reminder of unbearable loss.
We learn what took place and its shocking consequences, both for Dog Evans and the wider community. Gornell’s forensic gaze dissects the lives of the bereaved, fractured relationships and existences frozen the day their children died… Deborah Cutter, seperated from her husband John, numbs her pain with alcohol and sex. Local postman Nugget holds tight to the hope that the Evans house contains valuable secrets. Parish priest Father Wittin is an embarrassing irrelevance… As grief turns to rage, the villagers’ insatiable desire for catharsis in the form of one final blood sacrifice becomes unstoppable.
The master of ‘rural noir’, Barry Gornell has created a mesmerising, heart-breaking examination of rural life with a remarkable note of hope within the darkness.
Praise for The Wrong Child
‘[Gornell’s] admirable single-mindedness and cool nerve are allied to a highly developed prose style which effectively conjures up a mood of darkness, intense cold and moral ambiguity – one in which nature itself feels complicit in the actions of the people. It is genuinely gripping.’ Herald
‘A beautiful prose style and an intricate, clockwork plot.’ Booklist
‘A touch of rural noir in this uncompromising story of grief, anger, abandonment and decay.’ Scots Magazine
‘The Wrong Child is a startling and uncompromising story of grief and anger, of abandonment and decay. It’s intense – darker than dark – but also original and beautiful. Watch out for this Gornell fellow, folks, he is extremely good.’ Helen Fitzgerald, author of Viral, Dead Lovely and The Cry
‘Uncompromising story of grief, anger, abandonment and decay.’ Scots Magazine