A young girl, Liv, lives with her mother on a remote island in the Arctic Circle. Her only friend is an old man who beguiles her with tales of trolls, mermaids, and the huldra, a wild spirit who appears as an irresistably beautiful girl, to tempt young men to danger and death. Then two boys drown within weeks of each other under mysterious circumstances, in the still, moonlit waters off the shores of Liv's home.
Were the deaths accidental or were the boys lured to their doom by a malevolent spirit?
"It's very, very rare for a writer to be equally good at poems and novels. John Burnside is. He's a brilliant poet, a brilliant memoirist, and a brilliant novelist ... breathtakingly good"
"The most defining aspect of Burnside's work aside from its linguistic exactness is the beauty of his prose. Quite simply, he is a wonderful writer. Whatever he is writing always seems real and, considering much of the content of this new novel, that is a considerable asset for any storyteller"
"Burnside allows the ambiguity to remain in a hauntingly memorable book"
"In this beautifully sustained novel madness, mystery and myth-making collide. Burnside has an eerie attunement to the ineffable nature of existence and the fictions we construct to navigate and explain it"
"The novel invites you to view storytelling as akin to madness...In a book that often makes coded reference to itself to provoke serious thought as to what fiction is about, this counts as a joke. Its evasions may discomfit those who like to know exactly where they stand, but those who enjoy being teased as well as spooked should relish an eerie, ethereal novel that alludes to Lewis Carroll and uses methods of Hitchcock and David Lynch"