LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Bitterhall A Novel

by Helen McClory

Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on Bitterhall A Novel

Reeling with edge-of-your-seat atmosphere and the entangled lives, lusts and obsessions of three compelling characters involved in a unique ménage à trois (of sorts), Helen McClory’s Bitterhall is a brilliantly unnerving novel that explores the liminal blurring of inner life with outer reality. Narrated by the three characters in intense, short, tight episodes, their lives begin to unravel due to the eerie influence of a nineteenth-century diary, with matters coming to an irreversible, bewildering crescendo at a decadent Halloween party.

Daniel Lightfoot’s voice opens the book, breaking the metafictional fourth wall by addressing readers direct: “I want you to love me, if I’m being honest. That’s why I start so gently, in the garden, in the present tense. A good story begins tipsily in a garden, and carries on through well-proportioned rooms in the past tense in which blood is being spilled and was spilled.” His work involves futuristic 3D printing technology that aims to “copy important rare objects from all over the world to create replicas, mostly for museums.” He wants to “keep the old things safe... To save the past, but let people in.” Another link to the past is the nineteenth-century diary he’s reading, an intriguing document written by James Lennoxlove, the ancestor of his best friend. The diary finds its way to Daniel’s new flatmate, Tom, who can’t put it down and obsesses over Lennoxlove. Both Daniel and Tom’s girlfriend Órla notice a strange shift in Tom, the extent of which is revealed though Tom’s haunted, tormented narrative, and all three accounts of the Halloween party.

Laced with Daniel’s dry wit alongside the growing confusion and creeping sense of madness (“Whatever I had done, I had done with my socks on”), this shrewdly-written read rises to a gripping, question-raising climax.

Joanne Owen

Bitterhall A Novel Synopsis

Bitterhall is a story of obsession told between three unreliable narrators. Daniel, O rla and Tom share a flat and narrate the intersections of their lives, from future-world 3D printing technology to the history of the book, to a stolen nineteenth-century diary written by a dashing gentleman who may not be entirely dead. A Hallowe'en party leads to a series of entanglements, variously a longed-for sexual encounter clouded by madness, a betrayal, and a reality-destroying moment of possession.

Bitterhall reveals the ways in which our subjectivity tampers with the notion of an objective reality, and delves into how we represent and understand our muddled, haunted selves.

Win a Brilliant Orenda Book Bundle!

Win a Brilliant Orenda Book Bundle!

Closing date: 30/06/2021

We're teaming up once again with Orenda to offer another brilliant book giveaway! Not only is a bundle of Orenda Books up for grabs, we also have a £15 voucher for the winner to use on Orenda's new look website! This book bundle will include some of their latest releases from April to June. A fantastic opportunity to stock your bookshelves. The titles up for grabs are: The Source be Sarah Sultoon - Published 15th April Facets of Death by Michael Stanley - Published 29th April The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl - Published 13th May This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech - Published 10th June Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen - Published 10th June One Last Time by Helga Flatland - Published 24th June This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 30th June 2021. Please ensure that the details you use to enter the competition will be correct at the time the competition ends. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

Enter Now

Bitterhall A Novel Press Reviews

'Hauntingly delicious' - Sunday Post

'A dark novel filled with obsession and intrigue' - Scots Magazine

If you loved this, you might like these...

The Motion of the Body Through Space
Sharks in the Time of Saviours
Unsettled Ground
Unsettled Ground

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846975493
Publication date: 01/04/2021
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846975493
Publication date: 1st April 2021
Author: Helen McClory
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Genres: Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Helen McClory

Helen McClory is the author of two story collections, On the Edges of Vision (Queen's Ferry Press), a winner of the Saltire First Book of the Year award, and Mayhem & Death (404 Ink), as well as a novel, Flesh of the Peach (Freight, 2017). The Goldblum Variations - a collection of experimental micro-fictions - was published by 404 Ink, and Penguin in 2019. Her short stories have been listed for distinction in The Best of British Fantasy (2018), The Best of British and Irish Flash Fictions (2018/19), and nominated for the Pushcart prize. Helen is a part-time lecturer at the University of Glasgow and co-founder ...

More About Helen McClory

More Books By Helen McClory

Cover for The Goldblum Variations  by Helen McClory
Cover for Mayhem & Death by Helen McClory
Cover for On the Edges of Vision by Helen McClory
View All Books By Helen McClory

Share this book