Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Glister - John Burnside

I received an ARC copy of The Glister by John Burnside - I'm not sure from whom as there was no slip inside the book and I've since thrown away the envelope. But thanks to whichever agent decided to put me on the mailing list.

The Glister is set in the decaying, post-industrial town of Innertown. The land and the inhabitants are poisoned by the legacy of the now-closed chemical factory. Many people die from cancers and other illnesses and there is little hope of escape for the youth of the town. Adding to the misery are a series of mysterious disappearances of young males.

We meet a series of characters including Morrison, the town policeman who keeps a melancholic secret and Leonard, a young male whose father is dying from exposure to the chemicals. In all, the book has elements of a horror story. The tale opens well and builds in an interesting manner. It is atmospheric and there is a pervading sense of unease and gloom. However, the book crept into the realms of the bizarre and fantastic as it moved towards the climax. It lost grip with reality and left me feeling quite bemused. I can see many plaudits coming in the direction of this book due to its oblique nature and interesting structure. However, I found it a little pretentious and unsatisfying.

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