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Glister

by John Burnside - £8.99  Vintage (2009)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780099507840 | ISBN 10: 0099507846

The children of Innertown exist in a state of suspended terror. Every year or so, a boy from their school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead, and without evidence the authorities claim they are simply runaways.
 
The town policeman, Morrison knows otherwise. He was involved in the cover-up of one boyís murder, and he believes all the boys have been killed. Though he is seriously compromised, he would still like to find out the killerís identity.
 
The local children also want to know and, in their fear and frustration, they turn on Rivers, a sad fantasist and suspected paedophile living alone at the edge of the wasteland. Trapped and frightened, one of the boys, Leonard, tries to escape, taking refuge in the poisoned ruins of the old plant; there he finds another boy, who might be the missing Liam and might be a figment of his imagination. With his help, Leonard comes to understand the policemanís involvement, and exacts the necessary revenge - before following Liam into the Glister: possibly a disused chemical weapons facility, possibly a passage to the outer world.
 
A terrifying exploration of loss and the violence that pools under the surface of the everyday, Glister is an exquisitely written, darkly imagined novel by one of our greatest contemporary writers.

(Price & availability last checked: November 2018)

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