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From the prizewinning author of The Manningtree Witches, a subversive historical novel set during the French Revolution, inspired bya young peasant boy turned showman, said to have been tormented and driven to murder by an all-consuming appetite.
1798, France. Nuns move along the dark corridors of a Versailles hospital where the young Sister Perpetué has been tasked with sitting with the patient who must always be watched. The man, gaunt, with his sallow skin and distended belly, is dying: they say he ate a golden fork, and that it’s killing him from the inside. But that’s not all—he is rumored to have done monstrous things in his attempts to sate an insatiable appetite…an appetite they say tortures him still.
Born in an impoverished village to a widowed young mother, Tarare was once overflowing with quiet affection: for the Baby Jesus and the many Saints, for his mother, for the plants and little creatures in the woods and fields around their house. He spends his days alone, observing the delicate charms of the countryside. But his world is not a gentle one—and soon, life as he knew it is violently upended. Tarare is pitched down a chaotic path through revolutionary France, left to the mercy of strangers, and increasingly, bottomlessly, ravenous.
This exhilarating, disquieting novel paints a richly imagined life for The Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon in 18th-century France: a world of desire, hunger and poverty; hope, chaos and survival. As in her cult hit The Manningtree Witches, Blakemore showcases her stunning lyricism and deep compassion for characters pushed to the edge of society in The Glutton, her most unputdownable work yet.
About the Author
A.K. Blakemore is the author of two collections of poetry: Humbert Summer and Fondue. She has also translated the work of Sichuanese poet Yu Yoyo. Her poetry and prose writing have been widely published and anthologized, appearing in TheLondon Review of Books, Poetry, The Poetry Review, and The White Review, among other publications. Her debut novel, The Manningtree Witches won the Desmond Elliot Prize 2021. She lives in London, England.
"Excellent... Blakemore's writing is exceptional, saturated with the viscera of this life...Tarare doesn’t know his letters, but Blakemore gives him the yearning inner life of a poet: the sort of boy who as a child would escape his mother’s hut to watch the neighbours’ pigs sleep and wonder about their dreams."—The Telegraph
"[The Glutton] has the most visceral, haunting, and downright disturbing historical premises we’ve seen in a while."—Paste (most anticipated)
"Atmospherically charged and written in eloquent and compassionate prose, this is a lusty feast."—Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"[Blakemore] deftly questions what terrible appetites develop when people are denied love and a place in the world.... In Blakemore’s skilled hands, Tarare becomes complex and fully human rather than an abject horror and historical footnote. Viseral and haunting."—Kirkus
"Gorgeous and brutal, striking and wise, The Glutton is, at its core, a rich story of the lengths we will go to find belonging. A lyrical and propulsive reimagined historical rendering that will strike a deep cord with today's readers. Like nothing else I've ever read. Absolutely outstanding."—Chelsea Bieker, author of Heartbroke
"An embarrassment of riches. A sensory assault fit to slap any reader awake with its gorgeous glut of baroque prose and wise, poised lessons on life, pleasure, class, desire, and love."—Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Dance Tree
"The Glutton contains some of the most striking writing I have read in a very long time. An audacious and humane study of desire, pain and tenderness; a remarkable book about a remarkable subject by a remarkable writer"—Keiran Goddard, author of Hourglass
"Can there be any human frailty beyond this author’s understanding? The Glutton is an extraordinary accomplishment, a truly horrible and truly glorious novel. I devoured it. AK Blakemore’s intelligence is tempered by a profound and merciful human compassion, and the tragic making and breaking of Tarare is going to be with me for quite some time. Heartbreaking."—Annie Garthwaite, author of Cecily