Burning Elvis

Burning Elvis


As he sets out on his first adventure in life, a young man enters the dark realm of adult violence; a married suburbanite longs for the wide, mysterious world that seems to hover just beyond the next turn in the road; a pair of disturbed twins commit a pointless crime; and the boy of the title story, at once appalled and beguiled by the glamour of others, has all his hopes and expectations exposed by a senseless murder.

Burning Elvis is a book about innocence and fear, about boys and men who have no idea who they are, or what they are supposed to do, but are haunted by a vague apprehension of possible grace. In their differing ways they are lost, scared and, at the same time, caught up in a quest, a search for the real Graceland -- 'an idea of home, something in black and white, the smell of cheap lilac soap and a radio playing in the kitchen...and a mouthful of trick blood on the bathroom floor, to keep the night away.'

Already celebrated as a prodigiously gifted novelist and poet, John Burnside now extends his range to the shorter form, in a collection of stories written with the same beautiful control, the same power to ravish and disturb.


  • A well integrated and coherent collection of compelling and beautifully told tales, in which reality leaks away or, worse, has the plug pulled on it. John Burnside has found apt rewards for his concentrated writing skills and intellectual capacity in the short-story form.
    Times Literary Supplement

About the author

John Burnside

John Burnside was among the most acclaimed writers of his generation. His novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial, Saltire Scottish Book of the Year and, in 2024, he received the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in literature. In 2011 Black Cat Bone won both the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prizes for poetry.
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