ONE OF GRANTA MAGAZINE'S BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS
SHORTLISTED FOR THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE FOR FICTION, THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE FOR THE PANOPTICON and THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2021
'One of the most stunning literary experiences I've had in years' Irvine Welsh
'Dazzlingly ambitious' Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain
'A gloriously transgressive novel' Ian Rankin
1910, Edinburgh. Jessie, the devil's daughter, arrives on the doorstep of an imposing tenement building and knocks on a freshly painted wooden door. She has been sent by her father to bear a child for a wealthy couple, but, when things go wrong, she places a curse on the building and all who live there - and it lasts a century.
Caught in the crossfire are the residents of 10 Luckenbooth Close, and they all have their own stories to tell. While the world outside is changing, inside, the curse creeps up all nine floors and through each door. Soon, the building's longest kept secret - the truth of what happened to Jessie - will finally be heard.
One of the most stunning literary experiences I've had in years. LUCKENBOOTH, sprawling the decades with its themes of repression and revenge, brings back something that has long been lacking in the British novel: ambition. If Alasdair Gray's Lanark was a masterly imagining of Glasgow, then this is the quintessential novel of Edinburgh at its darkest.
It's extraordinary. Make sure it's on your radar ... Definitely going to be one of my books of 2021, a gloriously transgressive novel of Edinburgh denizens past and present.
Over time, 10 Luckenbooth Close sinks from grand residence to condemned squat with secrets seething in its walls ... Luckenbooth is a place of compacted time, where the past manifests as unquiet ghosts and the future bleeds into the present ... There's a force in Luckenbooth's bizarre assemblage.
With Luckenbooth, [Jenni Fagan] gives us nine of Edinburgh's wildest and loneliest misfits ... Piles on claustrophobia and menace ... As we move between the characters' perspectives, gritty realism takes over from the gothic. This isn't fancy Edinburgh: at No 10 it's cigarettes, cocaine and Benzedrine for breakfast ... There are memorable creations ... Fagan's prose is poetic, high-octane, built on punchy sentences. Arresting descriptions of the city and its weather abound. This is not a novel that lacks energy.
Jenni Fagan's Luckenbooth reminded me of one of my favourite novels, Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual. Set in an Edinburgh tenement, it leaps across decades to tell the story of the curse that haunts No 10 Luckenbooth Close and its eccentric inhabitants.
Spanning 100 years and nine floors of an Edinburgh tenement building, Luckenbooth is dazzling readers with its literary ambition and wickedly good storytelling. Jenni Fagan tells us about the 20 years and wall-spanning plans she poured into her third novel.