A bold, haunting, and startlingly unique novel about the secrets we leave behind and the places that hold them long after we are gone, a “quintessential novel of Edinburgh at its darkest.” (Irvine Welsh)
There are stories tucked away on every floor of 10 Luckenbooth Close
1910, Edinburgh. Jessie MacRae has been sent to a tenement building by her recently deceased father to bear a child for a wealthy man and his fiancée. The harrowing events that follow lead to a curse on the building and its residents—a curse that will last for the rest of the century.
Over nine decades, 10 Luckenbooth Close bears witness to emblems of a changing world outside its walls. An infamous madam, a spy, a famous Beat poet, a coal miner who fears daylight, a psychic: these are some of the residents whose lives are plagued by the building's troubled history in disparate, sometimes chilling ways. The curse creeps up the nine floors as an enraged spirit world swells to the surface, desperate for the true horror of the building's longest kept secret to be heard.
Luckenbooth is a bold, haunting, and dazzlingly unique novel about the stories and secrets we leave behind—and the places that hold them long after we are gone.
The interwoven lives of the tenants of No. 10 Luckenbooth Close, a tenement in the heart of Edinburgh, drive this outstanding novel from Fagan (The Panopticon), set over the course of the 20th century. In 1910, young Jessie MacRae sails a coffin into the city's harbor, claiming to have killed the devil, her father; she has horns growing under her hair to prove it. Jessie has been sold to Mr. Udnam, the tenement's owner, to secretly bear his wife's child. Other distinctive characters include Flora, a prostitute and "hermaphrodite," who's working up the nerve to see if the man she loves still loves her; Levi, who's employed in a bone library and is building the skeleton of a mermaid; Agnes, a spiritualist who can summon ghosts; and Ivor, a miner who fears the light. Beat poet William S. Burroughs also makes an appearance. A murder early in the century casts a curse that hovers over the building in the years that follow, as demonstrated by the sound of cloven hoofs. All the tenants' stories enchant as the action builds to a satisfying conclusion. This highly original novel with its fairy tale quality will appeal to fantasy fans as well.