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A novel of mysterious beauty, The Devil's Footprints explores the elemental forces of everyday life: love, fear, grief, and the hope of redemption.
Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his life yet still feels like an outsider. Married but distant from his wife, he discovers that a school friend, Moira Birnie, has killed herself and her two sons by setting their car ablaze. However, she spared her fourteen-year-old daughter, Hazel. As teenagers, Michael and Moira had a brief romance, yet more troubling is the fact that Michael was responsible for the death of Moira's brother, the town bully. In the wake of this most recent tragedy, Michael becomes obsessed with Hazel, and she convinces him to take her away from the village and her abusive father, with devastating consequences.
“Stunning. . . . Remarkable. . . . majestically written, with a piercing intelligence and a razor-sharp sense of the human predicament.” —The New York Sun
"Burnside is a luminous writer and muscular thinker." —Los Angeles Times
"A classic Jekyll and Hyde story. . . . Burnside is an acclaimed poet and indeed, his prose shimmers with the silence that resides at the center of all poetry." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"A devouring eloquence . . . what happens on almost every page is absorbing. . . . The work of an 'extraordinarily good writer.'" —Times Literary Supplement
Burnside wrestles with hugeness in a way that few writers dare to … convincingly gracious and profoundly necessary.” —Ali Smith
“A remarkable author …” —A. L. Kennedy
“A master of language …” —Hilary Mantel
“A spare, bewitching, beautifully written book … Burnside nimbly delineates the border where the actual and illusory meet: on both sides he finds dark and flinty human truths.” —London Times
“Burnside has written a haunting tale of crime and absolution; belonging and alienation; guilt and grief. Both this novel and [his poetry] are superb achievements. To be both a poet and novelist is highly unusual. To write so outstandingly well in both genres is a rarity indeed.” —Financial Times
“The Devil’s Footprints is a classic tale with an old-fashioned, gripping plot. But it is also helplessly good at the things that Burnside loves best: geography, the neighbours, the way people’s lives go, and the way people’s other, secret lives turn out.” —Guardian