Read The Red Beach Hut by Lynn Michell Online

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"Their eyes met and locked. Pulling his hand from his pocket, Neville waved. Once." Eight year old Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again. Abbott, panicked by what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, is on the run. The hut is his refuge and shelter. Inevitably man and boy collide. Their fleeting friendship is poignant, honest and heal"Their eyes met and locked. Pulling his hand from his pocket, Neville waved. Once." Eight year old Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again. Abbott, panicked by what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, is on the run. The hut is his refuge and shelter. Inevitably man and boy collide. Their fleeting friendship is poignant, honest and healing. But Abbot's past threatens to tear him away, as others watch and self-interpret what they see. An evocative portrayal of two outsiders who find companionship on a lonely beach, Lynn Michell's novel is about the labels we give people who are different, and the harm that ensues....

Title : The Red Beach Hut
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781908600684
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 260 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Red Beach Hut Reviews

  • Avril Joy
    2019-05-21 23:51

    From the very first page of The Red Beach Hut, Michell weaves a magical spell over her reader. We walk into this novel in the evening light, as air and water fuse, as a boy with, ‘bones as fragile as a bird’s,’ and a man in flight from the past, with ‘no anchor,’ walk together along the shore. This is their story, the story of Neville and Abbott, of a chance encounter that becomes a gentle and loving relationship.The prose is achingly, beautiful, doing perfect justice to the story. ‘A white whorl of a shell caught his eye. A spindle shell, not a common whelk, with only the tiniest chip on its lip, so good enough to put in his pocket. He liked the unhurt ones.’I doubt there can be a better, more poetic or lyrical writer when it comes to sea and shore and to the timelessness of being out on the water in a boat. Nor is there a more powerful portrait of an English sea- side town as it slips out of season, in all its faded nuance, with its, ‘forlorn unlicensed,’ cafes and its chips, ‘Lick. Chew. Swallow. Greasy and mouth-puckering. Sour with vinegar and gritty with salt.’There is no doubt that Michell is master of the child’s eye view. This should not surprise us. Before founding her own independent publishing company, Linen Press, Michell spent over twenty years working with children, exploring the language and thinking skills of adolescents in her doctorate and subsequently working as an educational psychologist, later as a research fellow, with difficult and troubled children. She is also grandparent to two sets of twin grand-daughters. Michelle says the first twins brought, ‘surprise, excitement and an absorbing, fascinating involvement with little girls growing up.’ She is still getting over the, ‘wonderful shock and gift,’ of the second. The boy Neville, is exquisitely drawn, a wounded soul who counts stars and steps and grains of sand for security. A boy who does not fit comfortably with society's conventions about how boys behave. He is a loner with a rich imagination which sends him in search of mermaids and attunes him to the sea. Like all children, Neville must work out the seemingly arbitrary rules of the adult world, but he does not easily pick up the signals, and his mother is not always on hand to protect him. In his lonely world Abbott offers a helping hand.Neville’s often literal and honest, take on life contrasts with the agonising paranoia of Abbott, who fears a moment of unintended, indiscretion may have cost him everything, and as a result has fled to the beach hut to escape the imagined consequences. Under the unwelcome, hawk-like gaze of angry onlookers, the literalism and paranoia dovetail, and flourish into respect and understanding.In the telling of this unusual and poignant story, where adult and child bond so immediately and with such intensity, despite being separated by their age and life experience, Michell invites us to question society’s, and our own, preconceptions about the relationship between an older man and a young boy. This a tense, tightrope walk, not always a comfortable ride, but it is handled with great delicacy, and cleverly, with just enough ambivalence in the writing of it, to force us to examine our own assumptions and prejudices along the way. As man and boy reveal themselves to each other, so we learn to trust with them. We share in their vulnerability and witness the compassion of Abbott who’s great skill is in understanding how to give voice to the unheard. In opening up to Abbott, Neville risks rejection but finds acceptance and love. ‘Abbott accepted the boy’s offering with awe and gratitude and wrapped his arms round the skinny, trembling frame. He dropped his head onto the boy’s tumbled curls and held him close.’ Neville opens up to Abbott and risks all. ‘Abbott accepted the boy’s offering – awe and gratitude – and wrapped his arms round the skinny, trembling frame. He dropped his head onto the boy’s tumbled curls and held him close.’ The Red Beach Hut explores the death of innocence, the growth of mistrust in the wake of national scandals of abuse and its victims, as well as the spread of homophobia and racism, and the casualties that are now left in their wake. It is a subtle and nuanced novel, with the gift of the sea at its heart, a triumph of love over hate and fear. A beautiful and brave book.

  • Nicole Sweeney
    2019-05-15 22:13

    Review originally posted on The Bibliophile ChroniclesI took this book on holiday with me because I thought it sounded like such a fascinating read. I unfortunately didn’t get to it until the very last day, and the dreaded wait in the airport. I settled in to start The Red Beach Hut and before I knew it the two hour wait had gone by. I was completely sucked in by this beautifully written book, so much so that I wish I could get the chance to read it for the first time again.I loved everything about The Red Beach Hut. I could picture the quiet slightly run down seaside town, the kind of place I probably visited with my parents as a child. The images Michell conjours up are so vivid, and so typical of British life. I also thought the characters were fantastic. Child protagonist Neville is perfect, equal parts trusting and questioning. There’s also a host of secondary characters that I thought were really fascinating: Neville’s mum doing whatever she can to make ends meet, as well as the nosy neighbours Bill and Ida who make it their business to get involved with everything that is happening around the little seaside town. These characters felt very realistic, perfectly capturing the essence of real people.The writing in The Red Beach Hut is enthralling, and I found myself completely absorbed in Michell’s words. The plot is a really fascinating one to think about: a lonely boy makes friends with a man living in a red beach hut, and how that looks from the outside perspective. It gives the reader a lot to think about, and is incredibly relevant with today’s media. I enjoyed The Red Beach Hut immensely, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • Isabelle Coy-Dibley
    2019-05-20 21:12

    "‘Ready?’ Always the same word. The same starting gun. He liked that."Are we ever truly ready for what life throws at us and can we ever outrun fate? As Abbott, a gay man who works with troubled boys, runs to the refuge of a red beach hut during a time of fear, persecution and the threat of his life being torn down, he meets an unlikely friend, Neville, a young boy aged seven or eight. Lynn Michell writes a beautifully innocent and endearing tale twisted by the tainted gaze of society’s perverse darkness, as two lost souls find hope in their unlikely companionship amidst their separate turmoils. As the odd yet surprisingly complementary pairing draw the attention of others’ gazes, which eventually places them under suspicion, Michell subtly tackles prejudice by treading the thin line between what is and is not appropriate. Abbott continuously questions how his actions may be read and misconstrued by those watching, yet both Abbott and Neville provide each other with quiet trust, understanding and constancy that they are each searching for in a time of need. The novel’s structure eloquently intertwines memories and inner dialogue throughout, weaving Abbott’s childhood memories of days on the beach with his aunt with the terrible mistake that led to the action of running from his current life. The Hut becomes a refuge and a safe place to visit these memories – a place of innocence and happiness. Meeting Neville in many ways helps Abbott to recapture this time and see the world through a child’s eyes once more, allowing him to share the heartfelt, excited, passionate, compassionate and honest perception of Neville. Michell develops the characters with an undercurrent of stillness running through each of their fibres; capturing the mind of Neville with such authenticity and attention to detail, which is no small feat. She interlaces his inquisitive nature with a quirky need to count everything in an attempt to appease an anxiety for order, rules and consistency. The literal, black and white mind of a child tests the grayscale of an adult’s mind, as Michell captures deep and poignant moments when tackling the truths and lessons people learn as they grow up. Neville has a fascination and desire to understand words, to understand language and his place within it. Abbott meets this desire through the knowledge he’s gained whilst working with troubled boys, providing Neville with an adult figure who will actually be honest with him and treat him as an equal – recognising that he needs consistency and someone to take the time to know him. "‘But we can say now it’s day and now it’s night…’‘Only afterwards. There’s light and dark but there’s grey in between. Twilight. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t sure. It’s OK sometimes not to know. To be uncertain.’‘I like certain.’‘I know you do.’‘What about me and you? Are we certain?’ He liked the word."Whilst Neville teaches Abbott to be true to oneself and find the honesty in what is spoken, Abbott provides Neville with the safety and security to be ok with the uncertainty of life; to be ok with not knowing. Michell presents the reader with the delicate and fragile moments in which one reveals the self to another and hopes that that vulnerability will be met with compassion. Abbott gives Neville the confidence to speak and the trust in someone being there to listen. He is given the chance to share his voice and his thoughts, a truly powerful gift to give another, which Abbott, knowing the danger of being made to feel voiceless against discrimination, knows all too well. Michell expresses the way in which language is not always vocal, subtly highlighting a language of touch, of music, of being on the sea, and of being still. There are other ways, and sometimes more powerful ways, to communicate with each other than with words."Before they set off, the boy bounded up the steps and slipped his small hand into the man’s big one. Abbott let it rest there. The gesture spoke of trust and Abbott offered his acceptance. How could he betray it?"They give each other companionship, yet through this pairing Michell similarly tests the boundaries of intimacy, as Neville desperately wishes Abbott was a father-figure and Abbott must navigate the conflict of the intensity of emotions within a child’s mind. There is a tenderness to Neville – the deep and absorbing love of a child who’s found a friendly soul to share experiences with and learn how to not be so alone with. The internal world of a child is a lonely place, a confusing place of learning the rules of life, and Abbott offers a helping hand of guidance. "One goes on and on, running on the same treadmill, never considering an alternative until forced to stop, he thought."In each other’s company, Abbott and Neville find a moment to pause, reflect and just be, there is an easiness where they both stop running – Neville stops counting all the time, and Abbott stops running from himself. Out of rhythm with society, they find solace in the sea’s rhythm, the subtle shifts in the water’s moods and the constant gravitational pull they feel to be there on the seashore looking out and imagining what could be. As Neville says, “I can wish”, and perhaps wishing is all we ever can do.

  • Joyce Goodman
    2019-04-29 16:07

    The Red Beach Hut is poignant, powerful, and beautifully written - a cautionary tale for our times that picks away at intolerance and prudery through the lyrical portrayal of characters, plot, and setting. The friendship between Abbott, a youth worker on the run from what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, and Neville, the trusting little boy on the ‘at risk’ register who counts steps, stars and grains of sand in search of security, is counterposed to the small-minded, self-righteous, moralising busybodies Ida and Bill who survey the beach from the vantage point of their beach hut. The politics of material and emotional poverty are evoked vividly as Neville walks on the beach of the faded, decaying sea-side town in all weathers and buys chips from a vendor who looks at the little boy knowingly, for Neville must be out of the house while his mum works to put food on the table in the only way she can. Jeopardy stalks this novel but also the constancy of friendship. The beach hut’s red door signifies the ambiguities of spaces of escape that are also sites of potential misinterpretation and danger. In a homophobic world the red of the beach hut’s door points to the risks of friendship between between an older man and a young boy. Yet The Red Beach Hut is also a story of hope, of the power to transcend intolerance and fragility, and of the ability to carve out spaces of safety and sanctuary for those deemed outsiders. Lynn Michell’s ability to work these spaces of contradiction in such an imaginative and compelling way makes The Red Beach Hut a truly convincing read.The story unfolds partly through Neville’s child’s eye. The descriptions of his compulsive counting and his need for repetition while walking along the beach with Abbott bring a rhythm to his character that mirrors the recurrent rhythms of the sea lapping on the shore. It is not just that Neville’s thinking and acting is portrayed with such sensitivity. So, too, are the paradoxes of Abbott’s self-awareness; for his acuity is offset by misreadings of situations that mirror the ambivalences of identity that beset the human condition in increasingly fractured times. Each fragile and isolated in their own way, we watch the friendship between Neville and Abbott unfold.The reader is drawn into the novel from the very first pages by a sense of foreboding as shafts of torchlight seek out and capture the presence of Abbott and Neville on the beach. With poetic, melodious prose, and with rhythms that illustrate Lynn Michell’s assurance as a writer, the narrative moves back and forth between characters, as well as across the ebbs and flows of time and timelessness. The ending of The Red Beach Hut threads openness and closure in just the right balance, leaving the reader convinced but also wanting more.

  • Ali Bacon
    2019-05-10 23:44

    A faded seaside town in Autumn is the perfect setting for this elegiac story of a vulnerable boy and the adult who befriends him. Eight year-old Neville, whose mum Sharon is reluctantly making a living on the game, is a solitary child, happy to be sent out to walk on the beach in the early evening when 'clients' arrive. Abbott is the fugitive who for some reason has taken up residence in the farthest of the beach huts and can't help responding to Neville's vulnerability. As the book opens, their fragile friendship is wrecked for reasons we can only guess at: the remainder of the book paints an increasingly compelling picture of what’s at stake. The town, though unnamed, is immediately recognizable and redolent of all the nostalgia and sadness these places can evoke: run-down arcades on a faded sea-front, businesses struggling to survive. But the drabness is redeemed by the ever-changing light of the sea, the sensation of damp and gritty sand and, most of all (how I longed for a bag as I read!) the smell of chips. After we have accompanied Neville and Abbott on some of their contemplative beach walks, the pace picks up. We're thrust into the stresses of Abbott’s day job as a child probation officer and the reasons for his flight to the sea-side backwater. We become aware that a vulnerable child (who is increasingly relying on his company) is the last person he should be involved with. The sense of jeopardy is palpable. As the narrative flicks backwards and forwards, we’re also reminded that in any part of Britain, ignorance and bigotry are never far away. The ending avoids a slide into melodrama and offers hope rather than instant happiness. This book handles difficult subjects with delicacy but never shies away from uncomfortable truths. I was left with the sensation of the fragility not just of seaside communities but of the knife-edge on which society is perched. A highly engaging and thought-provoking read.(I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.)

  • Cherry Radford
    2019-05-04 16:57

    Have you ever wanted a cosy hideaway for precious time to think? One without electricity, but in every other way a place of simple ‘domestic perfection’; a place where you can sleep deeply with the ‘soothing rhythmic slap and slurp of the tide’?  If you’re reading reviews of The Red Beach Hut, it’s likely that you have - and believe me, you won’t be disappointed.The story centres around a man and a boy. Abbot is a forty-something social worker with troubled teenage boys, who has escaped to his aunt’s beach hut after an inadvertent internet indiscretion at work. Neville is an eight-year-old (possibly autistic spectrum) boy, who goes to the beach when having to make himself scarce most early evenings while ‘men come to the house’ and his mother ‘dresses up in her sparkly clothes’. The boy sensed ‘the sea awash in the man’s heart, just like it occupied his own’; the man, moved by the boy’s ‘uncanny wisdom’ and ‘untarnished integrity’, is happy to hear the stories the boy tells himself to ‘spill a little magic into a strained, solitary existence.’ Sharing beach walks and a little trip in Abbot’s small boat, they become friends. It reads like a timeless tale, but it is also a timely one. Right from the beginning, we know that the Little England suspicious minds of the couple visiting one of the other beach huts - along with homosexual Abbot’s past misdemeanours and Neville’s At Risk registration - are going to bring torch lights and preconceptions bearing down on them, with possibly disastrous consequences.The book is both literary but compact and easy to read; the story - without giving anything away - both sad but strangely uplifting. My only quibble was with the to-and-fro order in which the friends’ eight days were described; I was going to have to knock off a star. In the end, however, I was so lulled by the whole thing that I was happy to let the scenes come and go, much as the sea ‘breathed its way up the beach... then just as inevitably began its retreat.’Highly recommended.

  • Pecky-About-Prose
    2019-05-05 15:53

    Lynn Michell writes on her website she has always wanted to be a tightrope walker. She has pulled off just such a literary balancing act with The Red Beach Hut in which the delicacy and fragility of a fleeting friendship between two outsiders, a boy and a man who meet on a tired beach, is backed up against growing political intolerance towards minority groups and anyone 'different' in Britain at the time of the general election of 2015. Like the grains of sand Neville tries to count, his gratitude to Abbott and the security he feels in his company are in danger of slipping through his fingers in the face of the tabloid-driven attitudes of people who watch without understanding or compassion.

  • Derek
    2019-05-06 21:52

    I was very lucky to read this early and it's a sensitively written contemporary story and an intriguing book about secrets, assumptions, and consequences. I found it beautifully descriptive and the boy is beautifully realised. It's a parable for our times.

  • Jenny Gorrod
    2019-05-12 16:46

    In a political climate where homophobia is a symptom of the backlash against tolerance, aided and abetted by populist and right-wing movements across the globe, the publication of The Red Beach Hut raises important questions about society’s misinterpretations of homosexuality. But Michell’s lightness of touch, her ability to get under the skin of her characters, ensures against any of her fiction presenting itself as overtly polemical. Lynn Michell’s previous novel, Run, Alice, Run (2015), explores the invisibility of the middle-aged woman and the damaging effect of patriarchy upon the female ego. In The Red Beach Hut, the protagonist’s problem is not invisibility; quite the reverse: Abbott feels highly visible, in a world where he would like to melt into anonymity. Abbott is on the run from an unknown computer hacker who is terrorising him. He risks losing his job, reputation and even his freedom. He decides to take refuge for a few days in a comfortable and well-equipped beach hut left to him in his aunt’s will, in order to plan his next move. Enter an unwelcome addition to his chaotic and anxious existence: Neville, a lonely young boy whose daily routine involves a walk along the beach and who craves a friend. Neville refuses to be repulsed by Abbott’s efforts to keep the child at bay and gradually, they develop a friendship that threatens to endanger them both. Abbott knows that his reluctant association with the boy is being scrutinised by the prying eyes of the reactionary couple in the hut next door. From the first pages of this novel, Michell sets up an atmosphere of such convincing threat that the reader’s expectations are on red alert. Her handling of the characters, their internal worlds and dialogue are beautifully drawn; especially delicate is her portrayal of Neville, a vulnerable and anxious little boy whose childhood innocence has been arrested by the brutal realities of adult life, but who longs for someone to trust. As Abbott is repairing a small rowing boat, Neville approaches tentatively. ‘I saw you from the steps…what are you doing?’ ‘Been mending a small hole. She might be ship shape now.’ ‘Ship shape?’‘Fit for the water.’‘Wow. Are you going to take her out?’‘Maybe.’The boy took a sharp breath in. ‘Wow!’ he said again.His eyes moved appreciatively over the neat shape, the white paint, the oars. Then he raised his face to the man where longing vied with hesitation. ‘I’ve never been in a boat.’‘I know. You said.’The boy looked at the man and the man looked at the boy. Neither spoke. The unspoken plea hovered between them while each breathed in and out and waited.Say no. Say the boat’s broken. Say you don’t have life jackets. Say it’s getting dark. The colour imagery in the novel acts on the reader too. Red is a colour of action and of danger. But this particular beach hut symbolises the womb; a place of nurture. The white beach hut occupied by the narrow-minded couple next door reflects their notions of themselves as ‘pure’, British nationals defending their interests against incomers, especially people of colour. Their tabloid-driven fear of paedophilia, combined with a twisted desire to see the worst in everyone around them ramps up the tension in a scenario already fraught with foreboding. Later in the story, the green boat further offshore acts as a catalyst for bonding between man and boy; green being a colour that evokes nature and harmony. Michell conjures the atmosphere of a deserted seaside town, with its rain soaked beach and drab promenade devoid of holiday-makers; but the beach becomes a kind of spiritual sanctuary for the new friends. A beach is the ultimate marginal land; this beach is inhabited by two characters on the margins of society, in danger of being engulfed by forces more powerful than them. Jenny Gorrod

  • Bookmarked
    2019-04-25 23:09

    It was with a certain degree of unease that I opened this book. I was on slippery ground: a vulnerable young boy and a homosexual man on the run. What could be more flammable? But my reservations were unfounded. This is a beautiful story, both in form and in content.Neville is an 8-year-old boy, his mother free-lancing as a sex-worker. She isn’t a bad person or a bad mother, just hard on her luck, and she needs Neville out of the house while she receives and entertains her male companions. Neville wanders on the beach, fending off bad memories by counting sand crystals, the stars and all the steps he takes. He is alone and chased off by holiday-makers like a stray dog. He is alone until he meets Abbott.Abbott is on the run. A homosexual man working with juvenile delinquents, he is a man treading a thin line. A small incident of vindictive homophobic cyberbullying tips him over the edge. He remembers his past transgressions and feels he is a hunted animal. He escapes to a sleepy seaside town and takes residence in a beach hut inherited from his aunt.Neville and Abbott collide with each other and even though Abbott tries to keep the boy at arm’s length he succumbs to the boy’s irresistible charm and they form close friendship. This is where I began to chew my nails and clench my fists, and turn the pages faster and faster because I could just see and smell what was coming next: a catastrophe. Keen eyes of local vigilantes were watching them round the clock, small town with all its prejudices and bigotry was breathing down their necks. And Abbott wasn’t going to conform. In fact, I began to think that maybe he hadn’t run from the long arm of the law, maybe it was the rotten society with its presumptions of guilt…So, I am grateful for this story and delighted that I overcame my unease to read it. Apart from the vivid characterisation, the book is beautifully written. The small English seaside town comes to life in front of your very eyes, and pretends to fall asleep while it keeps one eye open, watching the goings-on. Join in the show – you won’t regret it.

  • Susie Nott-bower
    2019-05-17 20:51

    I really enjoyed this book, and read it very quickly. I loved the simple, spare construction, and the innocence and trust of the relationship between Abbott and Neville is beautifully conceived. I particularly loved the atmosphere evoked, of the tawdry seaside town at the end of the season and the contrast between the worlds of the town - with its ignorance and suspicion and sad sexual encounters - and the 'other' world of the sea, with the beach hut sitting between them as refuge and shelter.Would definitely recommend.

  • Karen Carter
    2019-05-22 23:05

    Lynn writes a compelling and descriptive tale . The characterisation is insightful and Lynn manages to balance both the innocence and prejudice of her key characters. A convincing read.

  • Helen Forbes
    2019-05-07 23:45

    Beautifully written with wonderful characterisation and a great sense of place. The relationship between Neville and Abbot is beautifully drawn, poignant and real. Very enjoyable.

  • Lynn Michell
    2019-04-24 18:59

    With this deceptively simple story, Lynn Michell paints a truly terrifying picture of loss of innocence.Against the backdrop of a decaying English seaside town, the encounter between Neville and Abbott reveals the true current ‘state of the nation’, and it is thoroughly fallen: here is grubby voyeuristic gossip, preoccupation with sex and scandal, prudery, reactionary self-righteousness and self- regard, moral and social poverty and endless persecution of the ‘outsider’.Out onto this dingy stage steps a boy whose ‘autistic’ attributes serve only to enhance his beauty, and the man who befriends him despite his own stigmata. Their simple words and gestures shine, illuminating all about them. As their friendship grows, so does our faith in redemption.A rain-streaked, deserted British beach becomes a place of pilgrimage, of mystical retreat; an old beach hut offers warm sanctuary, revelation, truth-telling, consolation and love.It is fable for our time: a cautionary tale, shot through with light and loveliness.Permission to post this review given by Kate. www.amazon.co.uk/gp/profile/amzn1.acc...

  • Kaiya Knox
    2019-05-20 15:50

    Thank you to author and publisher alike for my ARC, and for letting me join in on the blog tour fun. Original review posted here.CONTENT WARNINGS:- sex work- child abuse- homophobia- Islamophobia- racism- cyberbullying- discussions of pedophiliaAT-A-GLANCE REVIEW: The Red Beach Hut is a book about a man and a boy becoming friends over the span of a week. Though well-written, it is a slow read that isn’t as insightful or moving as I expected from previous reviews — I wanted more.BABBLING REVIEW:Getting through this book was a bit of a struggle for me. I was interested in the story — man and boy become unlikely friends when they need it most — and much of the writing was great. However, the story dragged when it wasn’t disjointed by time jumps.Michell is great with description. She builds a scene really well, has you swept up and deposited on an empty beach at the end of the season in no time. Imagery wasn’t an issue while reading this book. I felt as if I were in the quiet beach town, walking along the sand and watching boats bob. I could feel Neville’s emotions through descriptions of his body language and facial features.The time jumping was incredibly distracting. At the start of each new chapter, I had to check where in time I was against previous chapters, consciously sort through what had happened up until that point, and then read. The jumping highlighted how short a time was covered by this book, making me question Abbott’s and Neville’s friendship — it happened too quickly, everything happened too quickly.Neville was clever and darling. I found myself speed reading through Abbott’s chapters to get to sections with Neville. He was believable, charming, interesting. His points of view were refreshing. I didn’t think that he was written too old or too young, though I wasn’t sure of his age until Abbott described him as “a boy, aged maybe seven or eight”.Abbott, on the other hand, frustrated me constantly. While other characters remarked on him being a loving man, great at his job with troubled boys, I found him to be irresponsible and rash. His decision-making that led to him inhabiting the red beach hut was bizarre, a clear over-reaction — which he acknowledged but chose to ignore. He reminded himself time and again that he shouldn’t do certain things, but he did them anyway. His care for Neville was nice, but the rest of his character came across as out of control.Because of Neville’s quick trust in Abbott and Abbott’s irresponsibility, I didn’t trust Abbott — which was a huge problem considering the position he was in. Some of his chapters included him mulling over said situation and how things must have looked, and I wanted to believe in him and believe what other characters described him as. But I didn’t. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop.The ending wrapped up very quickly after the book trudged on, which was weird. I was caught off guard. The pacing of this book was hard to get comfortable with — fast in the first few scenes, very slow through the middle, and then ended all of a sudden. I do like how it ended, though. The final chapter was lovely, though I did wish for a final Neville chapter.I think The Red Beach Hut touches on a lot of issues — homophobia, sex work, and child abuse mostly — but falls rather flat with taking them anywhere. We know that Abbott gets a lot of shit for being gay, we’re told that, but we don’t see much about how it affects him (other than him fleeing to the seaside town). The issues are brought up but left unattended, unresolved.So, I’ve given this novel 3/5 stars. It was good. There were some things I would have changed (pacing, time jumps, leaving the social issues open ended, etc.), but I did like the story. I was touched by the chip man’s care for Neville, Neville’s quick love for Abbott, Abbott’s letter, Sharon’s points of view (her guilt, patience, and efforts). I just wanted more.