The Glister

Publisher: Anchor
Acclaimed author John Burnside delivers a profound, page-turning novel about innocence, evil, morality, and the dark corners of the human psyche.
Mysterious illnesses affect the inhabitants of the post-industrial village of Innertown, and a pervasive sense of malaise hangs everywhere. So when teenage boys disappear into the poisoned woods surrounding the village’s abandoned chemical plant, no one notices, or if they do, they don’t say a thing. Not even the town’s only cop, whose leads have long since died. To one boy, however, the chemical plant is beautiful, and it is there he will enact a plan to change the fate of the children of Innertown. To do so he will have to confront the blinding reality that burns in the chemical plant’s cavernous center.



In the beginning, John Morrison is working in his garden. Not the garden at the police house, which he has long neglected, and not the allotment he rented when he was first married, but the real garden, the only garden, the one he likes to think of as a shrine. A sacred place, like the garden in a medieval...
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"Brilliant. . . . Beautiful and frightening."
The New York Times Book Review

The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion of John Burnside's hauntingly memorable novel The Glister.

1. What was your...

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“Brilliant. . . . Beautiful and frightening.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Haunting. . . . [A] darkly beautiful meditation on death, guilt and redemption.” —The Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A deeply philosophical tale that goes right to the heart of existence and what one must to do, despite circumstances, to retain humanity.”—St. Petersburg Times 
"Burnside builds mood and atmosphere with fearsome skill." —Chicago-Sun Times 
"By turns beguiling, sinister, playful and never less than mesmerizing. . . . [The Glister] will haunt you." —Irvine Welsh, Guardian 
"A hauntingly mysterious . . . story about disappearances and environmental decay." —Toronto Star
"Like a later day Jekyll and Hyde, Burnside can turn from luminous verse to prose that keeps you up at night. The Glister is such a novel." —The Financial Times