Poignant, and often heart wrenching, Lynn Michell’s The Red Beach Hut follows two outcasts as they form an unlikely friendship that brings hope and healing along the lonely coastline of an English beach. Abbott is a youth worker on the run from what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack and a looming mistake from his past. Neville is a trusting “at risk” eight year old boy in search of security, which he often finds in counting steps and grains of sand. The hut, in a way, is the refuge they both needed.
Michell eloquently structures the novel as part memory and part inner dialogue, providing a more in-depth view of the world from both adults and a child’s eye. However, this perspective also reveals the harsh realities of the world we live in by introducing a busybody couple who darken the beach with their judgmental gaze. While the bond between Abbott and Neville is an innocent one comparable to that of of father and son, the couple stands to represent prejudices and the harm they bring to others. In essence, it’s an eye-opening setting for all those who choose to open the book and walk alongside the beach with the novel’s protagonists.
What I admire most about The Red Beach Hut is its authenticity. Simply put, the characters feel like real people. Their troubles, insecurities, challenges, and the like are easily comparable to real world situations without being muddled by presentation. In addition, I also believe that The Red Beach Hut shines a spotlight on often unrepresented characters within the literary world. Not often will you find characters like Abbott and Neville without some sort of sinister twist. Instead, here, readers find something pure and inspiring, which is a refreshing change from the norm, if you will.
The Red Beach Hut is a gem of a novel that will captivate readers from page one and keep them under its spell until the very end.
You can purchase The Red Beach Hut here.