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I put a spell on you - John Burnside

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I put a spell on you - several digressions on love and glamour
John Burnside
Paperback / softback
UK Publication Date

In this exquisite, haunting book, John Burnside describes his coming of age from the industrial misery of Cowdenbeath and Corby to the new world of Cambridge. This is a memoir of romance - of lost love and the love of being lost - darkened by threat, illuminated by glamour.

The old Scots word 'glamour' means magical charm, and the first time he was played I Put a Spell on You, John Burnside thought he had never heard a more beautiful song - it was an enchantment, a fascination that would turn to obsession. Implicit in the song were all the ambiguities that intrigued him - love, possession and danger - and this book is an exploration of the darker side of glamour and attraction. Beginning with memories of a brutal murder, the book follows the author through a series of uncanny encounters with 'lost girls', with brilliant digressions on murder ballads, voodoo, acid and insomnia, and a cast that includes Kafka and Narcissus, Diane Arbus and Mel Lyman, The Four Tops and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and time spent lost in the Arctic Circle, black-and-white films and a mental institution. Ending with the tender summoning of the ghost of his dying mother as she sings along to the radio in her empty kitchen, I Put a Spell on You is a book about memory, about the other side of love: a book of secrets and wonders.

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John Burnside is amongst the most acclaimed writers of his generation. His novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs have won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial prize, the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Encore Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year. In 2011, Black Cat Bone won both the Forward and the T.S.
Eliot Prizes for poetry. A judge for the Booker prize in 2015, he is a professor in the School of English at Saint Andrews University.

A marvellously meandering, digressive study of the nature of love… Burnside has a lovely garrulousness that is distinctively his own… Exact and enthralling.
Guardian - Tessa Hadley

[An] indirect, peculiar, consuming memoir… Full of wonders.
Observer - Kate Kellaway

A wise and wryly glum autobiography written in a highly rewarding, pared-back style.
Sunday Times - Martin Hemming

Captivating and unsettling… A work of scalding honesty.
Financial Times - Sophie Elmhirst

Intoxicating… Remarkable… A long-player that resonates long after the stylus has lifted.
Glasgow Sunday Herald - Brian Morton

Keyword Index
Authors, Scottish - 20th century - Biography.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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