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I Put a Spell on You [Kindle Edition]

John Burnside
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

In this exquisite, haunting book, John Burnside describes his coming of age from the industrial misery of Cowdenbeath and Corby to the new world of Cambridge. This is a memoir of romance – of lost love and the love of being lost – darkened by threat, illuminated by glamour.



The old Scots word ‘glamour’ means magical charm, and the first time he was played I Put a Spell on You, John Burnside thought he had never heard a more beautiful song – it was an enchantment, a fascination that would turn to obsession. Implicit in the song were all the ambiguities that intrigued him – love, possession and danger – and this book is an exploration of the darker side of glamour and attraction. Beginning with memories of a brutal murder, the book follows the author through a series of uncanny encounters with ‘lost girls’, with brilliant digressions on murder ballads, voodoo, acid and insomnia, and a cast that includes Kafka and Narcissus, Diane Arbus and Mel Lyman, The Four Tops and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and time spent lost in the Arctic Circle, black-and-white films and a mental institution. Ending with the tender summoning of the ghost of his dying mother as she sings along to the radio in her empty kitchen, I Put a Spell on You is a book about memory, about the other side of love: a book of secrets and wonders.



Product Description

Review

"A marvellously meandering, digressive study of the nature of love… Burnside has a lovely garrulousness that is distinctively his own… Exact and enthralling." (Tessa Hadley Guardian)

"[An] indirect, peculiar, consuming memoir… Full of wonders." (Kate Kellaway Observer)

"A wise and wryly glum autobiography written in a highly rewarding, pared-back style." (Martin Hemming Sunday Times)

"Captivating and unsettling… A work of scalding honesty." (Sophie Elmhirst Financial Times)

"Intoxicating… Remarkable… A long-player that resonates long after the stylus has lifted." (Brian Morton Glasgow Sunday Herald)

Book Description

The latest memoir by the prize-winning author of A Lie About My Father

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 786 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (1 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I50K1NS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another stunning book from Burnside 21 Jun. 2014
By TD
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Getting a new Burnside book, whether poetry, novel, short stories or autobiography is always an event. He reaches places that are rarely got to.

This new book doesn't disappoint. His ability to plunge the depths of characters and events, convincingly portraying them in such beautiful sentences, is stunning. He writes with such pared-down simplicity and integrity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the most beautifully written and inspiring books I've ever read.
Burnside can construct a sentence like few others.
A extraordinary read - as a previous reviewer mentions, it's a perfectly crafted memoir. However, it's also a treatise on glamour, on grammar and life for the 21st century male.
It may be tough for some readers, but I can't recommend highly enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoir From Another World 6 Jun. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a complex and deeply moving work. Although it has to be largely classified as a "memoir" it is much more than that; it is an account of how a young man from Cowdenbeath moved gradually towards becoming the accomplished writer "John Burnside", via Corby, the Cambridge Tech, Fulbourn Mental Hospital, and a few other places. Yet it is only a "memoir" in the same sense that James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a "memoir"; it, like Joyce's book, is also an "apologia", an account of how the writer began to move from a relatively ordinary and aimless young man towards the extraordinary writer he has become. In the process, recollections of his life and some of its events are mixed with accounts of influences on his work, ranging (amongst others) from rock musicians, jazz singers, the photographer Diane Arbus, the haunting landscape of Finnmark in northern Norway, and Cambridge drug culture of the 1960s. W.B. Yeats wrote, "A poet writes always of his personal life, in his finest work out of its tragedy, whatever it be, remorse, lost love, or mere loneliness". This is, indeed, such a work. It will not be for everyone, as it is challenging, but I suspect that this is a book which will endure.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weird Weird Weird! 23 July 2014
By Ancass
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the glowing reviews it has been receiving but oh how I wish I hadn't bothered. What a load of codswallop! It started off well enough but soon descended into a series of some of the weirdest tales I've ever encountered. So weird in fact that I gave up before I reached the halfway mark! Maybe it's a 'girl thing' but I just didn't get it!
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