Award-winning writer Alice Thompson’s compelling new novel is a story of transformation; an exploration of the shifting borderlands between imagination and reality.
It is 1936. Iris Tennant has applied, under a pseudonym, to become personal assistant to Lord Melfort, the Under-Secretary of War, at his estate in the Scottish Highlands. Her plan is to find out why her younger sister Daphne committed suicide there a year previously. As Iris gradually falls under the spell of Glen Almain, she starts to see the apparition of Daphne haunting its glades and begins to wonder about the manner of her death. Is there really a beast that inhabits the woods? Who is the mysterious falconer? What actually happened to Daphne, and is Iris destined for the same fate?
A backdrop of impending war and the spectre of Nazi Germany loom over this strange, dark tale. What ensues is a battle between instinct and reason, fantasy and history.
‘Thompson’s writing is, as ever, the kind that demands full attention – important details are embedded in lyrical description or insinuated into an apparently innocuous observation. This is not a book that is kind to readers – you have to buy into the world its author has created, accept its own very special laws – and that requires effort. But it’s effort that is ultimately rewarded: I doubt you’ll read another book quite like it this year.’
‘The world she creates is claustrophobic and hypnotic, recognisably a dream but also rational on its own, admittedly skewed, terms... Many novelists bore readers to sleep. Wake up to The Falconer.’ —The Sunday Herald