The Glutton: A Novel (Hardcover)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
**Named a MOST ANTICIPATED book of 2023 by The Guardian**
From the prize-winning author of The Manningtree Witches, a subversive historical novel set during the French Revolution, inspired by a young peasant boy turned showman, said to have been tormented and driven to murder by an all-consuming appetite.
1798, France. Nuns move along the dark corridors of a Versailles hospital where the young Sister Perpetué has been tasked with sitting with the patient who must always be watched. The man, gaunt, with his sallow skin and distended belly, is dying: they say he ate a golden fork, and that it’s killing him from the inside. But that’s not all—he is rumored to have done monstrous things in his attempts to sate an insatiable appetite…an appetite they say tortures him still.
Born in an impoverished village to a widowed young mother, Tarare was once overflowing with quiet affection: for the Baby Jesus and the many Saints, for his mother, for the plants and little creatures in the woods and fields around their house. He spends his days alone, observing the delicate charms of the countryside. But his world is not a gentle one—and soon, life as he knew it is violently upended. Tarare is pitched down a chaotic path through revolutionary France, left to the mercy of strangers, and increasingly, bottomlessly, ravenous.
This exhilarating, disquieting novel paints a richly imagined life for The Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon in 18th-century France: a world of desire, hunger and poverty; hope, chaos and survival. As in her cult hit The Manningtree Witches, Blakemore showcases her stunning lyricism and deep compassion for characters pushed to the edge of society in The Glutton, her most unputdownable work yet.
About the Author
A.K. Blakemore is the author of two collections of poetry: Humbert Summer and Fondue. She has also translated the work of Sichuanese poet Yu Yoyo. Her poetry and prose writing have been widely published and anthologized, appearing in The London Review of Books, Poetry, The Poetry Review, and The White Review, among other publications. Her debut novel, The Manningtree Witches won the Desmond Elliot Prize 2021. She lives in London, England.
Praise for The Manningtree Witches
"This is an intimate portrait of a clever if unworldly heroine who slides from amused observation of the 'moribund carnival atmosphere' in the household of a 'possessed' child to nervous uncertainty about the part in the proceedings played by her adored tutor to utter despair as a wagon carts her off to prison." —Alida Becker, The New York Times Book Review
"Blakemore brings both beautifully crafted sentences and a thorough understanding of Hopkins’ theology to her fascinating novel . . . It’s clear that the author is deeply conversant in the historiography of English witchcraft as popularized by historians such as Keith Thomas and Lyndal Roper. Her characters plumb the taxonomy of the persecuted with precision . . . Brilliant." —Los Angeles Times
"The Manningtree Witches ventures into dark places, to be sure, but it carries a jewelled dagger. Blakemore is a poet, and readers given to underlining may find their pencils worn down to stubs . . . Such sharp wit and rich textures would be welcome in any setting, but here they form what seems a fitting tribute. The persecutors in this tale are given close scrutiny, but the book belongs to the persecuted. And on these pages, in all their ordinary glory, those women are at last allowed to live." ––Paraic O’Donnell, The Guardian
"In A.K. Blakemore's dark, entrancing debut novel, there is something seductive about the small town of Manningtree, where women are left mostly alone as the men are off at war, and have their first tastes of freedom in their staunchly Puritanical society . . . Blakemore's story is inspired by real events from 400 years ago (primary sources are sprinkled throughout), but the narrative feels vivid, current, propulsive—and all the more viscerally deranging for it." —Kristin Iversen, Refinery29
"Blakemore expertly wields the colorful language of Oliver Cromwell’s time: her barbs are as sharp and her observations as salty as William Shakespeare’s—but with a feminist twist . . . Blakemore has written a spellbinding novel about the unprecedented persecution of women during the 'Witch Craze' in 17th-century England. But she has done more than that . . . [she] has given voice to women whose stories have only been told by others and thus provides a very different view of history than what is written in the official narrative." —Elaine Elinson, The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Blakemore’s novel, as Rebecca Tamás puts it, 'makes the past breathe,' with a captivating ferocity of language, deftly wrought characters, and richly spooky images that tell a story I couldn’t put down despite the dreaded ending I knew I was in for. But the past breathes whether Blakemore brings it to life or not. The present moment is a continuation of the past. We are here because we were there. We are still there." —Hannah Lamb-Vines, Full Stop
"While this is a historical novel of sorts, it ultimately feels very modern and can be seen as a reflection of the misogyny in the 21st Century. Blakemore is brilliant and Manningtree [Witches] is just the tip of the iceberg." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
"If you too like to be excited (and disturbed, and amused) by your sentences, I suggest you pick up this tensile first novel by poet A.K. Blakemore . . . I’m shivering just thinking about it, but never have I been so glad to be so upset!" —Emily Temple, Literary Hub
"[Blakemore's] poetic imagery exquisitely conjures ambiance, character, and period detail . . . The well-realized principal characters are more than simply victims and villains." —Booklist
"In Blakemore’s debut novel, her background as a poet is clear. The language is striking, full of distinctive insights regarding gender, truth, and religious devotion . . . Historical fiction has rarely felt so immediate." —Kirkus Reviews
"Inventive, sharp-witted . . . The author is a devastatingly good prose stylist . . . Blakemore’s ambitious and fresh take on the era will delight readers." —Publishers Weekly
"Blakemore writes with a sure sense of story and the heightened language of the poet she is." —Library Journal
"A.K. Blakemore's debut is a riveting, unsettling story of menace, corruption, and muck, rendered in limber, evocative prose that delights and surprises at every turn. Its heroine wants too much, and too often, and the wrong thing--which is quite a bit more dangerous than usual, considering this is 17th century England and the Witchfinder General has just come to town. Based on actual events, but told in a deliciously brazen voice, this novel reads like Fleabag meets Hilary Mantel: bawdy, bewitching, weird, and wise. I loved every minute, and even when I was horrified, I didn't want to look away." —Emily Temple, author of The Lightness
"I loved this riveting, appalling, addictive debut. In The Manningtree Witches, Blakemore captures the shame of poverty and social neglect unforgettably, and the alluring threat of women left alone together, in a novel which vividly immerses the reader in the world of those who history has tried to render mute." --Megan Nolan, author of Acts of Desperation
"Dark, original, unsettling, and crackling with fierce and visceral life, The Manningtree Witches heralds the birth of an utterly vital new voice in fiction. A.K. Blakemore makes the past breathe, and allows it, with dazzling candour, to speak hotly to the complicated reality of our own moment." --Rebecca Tamás, author of WITCH