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The Devil's Footprints


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"John Burnside's elegant prose combines a pulse of accumulating menace reminiscent of Ian McEwan with an unflinching apprehension of nature's serene indifference that evokes J. M. Coetzee. There's a timelessness here that will make the reader put down the book and peek out the window at the neighbors. God knows what they're up to on a cold winter's night."
-Valerie Martin
"[S]tunning: majestically written, with a piercing intelligence and a razor-sharp sense of the human predicament.... [T]he harrowing psychological told seemingly without effort, through words that intoxicate, scenes that enrapture, and ideas that ensnare. Mr. Burnside has said that he hoped to explore notions of evil, grief, and love. He succeeds; "The Devil's Footprints" is a remarkable marriage of thought to form.... [A]n intricate story, imbued with an intense moral relativity."
-"The" "New York Sun"
"Burnside creates an intense, Stephen King-like atmosphere around Michael's observations and memories, and the complex cast's secrets and grudges."
-"Publishers" "Weekly"
"The best novels, while entertaining, offer the promise of teaching something crucial, ineffable about life and how to live it. We read them to survive. "The Devil's Footprints" partakes of that quality.... Burnside is a luminous writer and a muscular thinker."
-"Los Angeles Times"
"The perfidy of the characters contrasted with the breathtaking calm and scenic beauty of the landscape are evoked with great skill. Burnside is an acclaimed poet and indeed, his prose shimmers with the silence that resides at the center of all poetry."
-"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"
"Burnside weaves the personal trauma ofMichael's realization with the folkloric strand of Coldhaven's dark history to tease out the legend behind the devil's footprints. The perfidy of the people contrasted with the calm beauty of the landscape is evoked with great skill."
-"St. Petersburg Times"
"Burnside wrestles with hugeness in a way that few writers dare to...convincingly gracious and profoundly necessary."
-Ali Smith
"A remarkable author. . ."
-A.L. Kennedy
"A master of language. . ."
-Hilary Mantel
"A spare, bewitching, beautifully written book...Burnside nimbly delineates the border where the actual and illusory meet: on both sides he finds dark and flinty human truths."
-"The Times"
"Burnside has written a haunting tale of crime and absolution; belonging and alienation; guilt and grief. Both this novel and [his poetry] are superb achievements. To be both a poet and novelist is highly unusual. To write so outstandingly well in both genres is a rarity indeed."
-"Financial Times"
""The Devil's Footprints" is a classic tale with an old-fashioned, gripping plot. But it is also helplessly good at the things that Burnside loves best: geography, the neighbours, the way people's lives go, and the way people's other, secret lives turn out."

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