Bitterhall by Helen McClory


Helen McClory

In this intellectually challenging story I was drawn into the lives of three complicated characters in search of love. Confronted with three versions of the same story I was constantly alert: who is telling what, and why? Is one of them possessed by an ancient diary writer? Who is responsible for whom? A crisis in the harsh Scottish countryside seems to give an answer, but is that really so?


What has this to do with anything? Tom. Daniel. See, I’ve always had the attraction to the splintering, inhabitational and polluting. Or at least to a cultural idea of pollution and plurality and its holy cure. The idea that someone skilled, a person with a vocational calling but in all other ways normal, can scoop a body out from its demons. And now the one is split from that many and made quite confounded. Possession – symptomatic of a cultural overspill and tainting. The patriarchy perhaps. You have to have an idea of property and who a body belongs to, to have possession. You know that what it must be most of the time in recorded cases is severe mental illness clashing against religiosity and fear of the dissolution of the self as a realm of contagion/corruption. But some of the rest of the time it might not be. It gets to be demons, sometimes. There’s a margin for error. There’s a margin for anything.

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