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Overview

In the tradition of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a darkly humorous modern classic of Scottish literature about a doomed adolescent growing up in the mid-19th century—featuring a new introduction by Maggie O’Farrell, award-winning author of Hamnet.

Janet lies murdered beneath the castle stairs, attired in her mother’s black lace wedding dress, lamented only by her pet jackdaw...

Author Elspeth Barker masterfully evokes the harsh climate of Scotland in this atmospheric gothic tale that has been compared to the works of the Brontës, Edgar Allan Poe, and Edward Gorey. Immersed in a world of isolation and loneliness, Barker’s ill-fated young heroine Janet turns to literature, nature, and her Aunt Lila, who offers brief flashes of respite in an otherwise foreboding life. People, birds, and beasts move through the background in a tale that is as rich and atmospheric as it is witty and mordant. The family’s motto—Moriens sed Invictus (Dying but Unconquered)—is a well-suited epitaph for wild and courageous Janet, whose fierce determination to remain steadfastly herself makes her one of the most unforgettable protagonists in contemporary literature.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781668004616
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 09/20/2022
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 5,153
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

In her career as a novelist and journalist, Elspeth Barker wrote for The Independent, The Observer (London), The Sunday Times (London), London Review of Books, and many others. Elspeth also taught Latin at what she described as a naughty girls’ school on the Norfolk coast and worked as a tutor and lecturer in creative writing at the Norwich School of Art and Design. She published her first novel, O Caledonia, at the age of fifty-one. O Caledonia was awarded the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. Elspeth was married to the poet George Barker and died in 2022.

Maggie O’Farrell is the author of the #1 Sunday Times (London) bestselling memoir I Am, I Am, I Am and eight novels, including The Distance Between Us, which won the Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, which won the Costa Novel Award; Instructions for a Heatwave, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award; This Must Be the Place, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award; and Hamnet, winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, the 2020 NBCC Award for Fiction, the 2020 Waterstones’ Book of the Year, and was the Fiction Book of the Year at the 2021 British Book Awards. She lives in Edinburgh.

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