Books Magazine

Bitterhall by @HelenMcClory

By Pamelascott

From the prize-winning author of The Goldblum Variations: a tale of desire, madness and the reality-constructing powers of books.

In a darkening season in a northern city, Daniel, Órla and Tom's lives intersect through a peculiar flatshare and a stolen nineteenth-century diary written by a dashing gentleman who may not be entirely dead. An interwar-themed Hallowe'en party leads to a series of entanglements: a longed-for sexual encounter, a betrayal, and a reality-destroying moment of possession.

As the consequences unfurl, Bitterhall 's narrative reveals the ways in which our subjectivity tampers with the notion of an objective reality, and delves into how we represent - and understand - our muddled, haunted selves.


I am on the swing in the garden, under the oak bough, late August night, a couple of beers tipped over beside me in the short mossy grass and my heart is a neat bundle of sticks in love with the dead and unreachable. AUTUMN SOFT


(@PolygonBooks, 1 April 2021, ebook, 323 pages, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveLibs)



This is a new author for me. I thought Bitterhall was a great book. I thought the plot was original and loved the way the author took the story. The narrator is split between Daniel, Órla and Tom and the stories moves about in time as you learn their own version of events and the fragments eventually merge. The book is well-written and compelling. I was gripped from the first couple of pages.

Bitterhall @HelenMcClory

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