Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy

Water Shall Refuse Them

Lucie McKnight Hardy

An isolated Welsh village, the heatwave of 1976 and the grief of losing a child create a stifling atmosphere for this coming of age story. The threat and foreboding builds as neglected and isolated Nif looks for answers, drawing on superstition, folklore and a taste for cruelty. This is an unsettling read; shocking and haunting.


‘A place on the edge,’ I agreed. ‘A threshold. It’s like it’s caught in the middle, like it’s sitting between all the things we know about and all the things we don’t.’ And it was true. It was like the space between night and day, that time in the early morning or late at night when you don’t really know which it is. A liminal place. I reached for the crisps and shovelled some into my mouth. The salt stung my lips where they were cracked from the sun, and instead of wiping it away, I let myself enjoy the tingling sensation.

Mally nodded, slowly. I swallowed and carried on.

’Or like that space between being asleep and being awake. When you’re dreaming but you know you’re also waking up and then when you wake up you can’t remember the dream. This village is caught in the middle of real life and something else, a bit like that.’

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Explicit sexual content