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Extended Audio Sample The Glister: A Novel Audiobook, by John Burnside Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (407 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Burnside Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455192533
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Fifteen-year-old Leonard describes his hometown as a contemporary hell: part industrial ruin, part Dante’s Inferno. The poisoned woods and the derelict buildings are haunted by wild children, a strange, sickly fauna, and the mysterious Moth Man, an itinerant ecologist who appears to be conducting a bizarre survey into local insect populations, but might just as easily be the angel of the Lord. Every year or so, a boy from Leonard’s school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead. Without evidence to the contrary, the authorities claim they are simply runaways. But Morrison, the town policeman, knows otherwise. Determined to learn the truth for himself, Leonard takes refuge in the poisoned ruins of the plant, where he renews his friendship with the Moth Man and exacts a shocking revenge on the policeman before entering the mysterious Glister.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “John Burnside explores with a delicious feathery touch the infectious nature of violence and its capacity to seduce, in ways that are almost beautiful. This tantalizing, horrific novel is steeped in a terrible sense of wonder.”

    Metro (London)

  • “What makes Glister most astonishing is that poet-novelists, such as Burnside, seldom succeed. Yet he has shown it can be done gloriously…Glister is a powerful, mesmerizing experience.”

    Observer (London)

  • “Burnside brings his powers of pared-down narration to bear on a tale of dereliction, loss and possible redemption…Burnside’s story employs suggestion and ambiguity rather than explicit statement, but it has the power that comes from leaving plenty of space in which the reader’s own imagination can go to work.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “One of the most original and exhilarating reads of the year…A work begging a second reading, it is an exceptionally rich treasure which goes beyond telling a disconcerting and disorienting story to illuminate the infinite possibilities of the novel.”

    The Guardian 

  • “Nobody does eerie quite like John Burnside. His exquisite and haunting new novel Glister…has an insistent force, overturning the reader’s expectations and building to a truly shocking climax…I doubt I will read a more unsettling and memorable book this year.”

    Scotsman (London)

  • “Burnside can turn from luminous verse to prose that keeps you awake at night…In the end we are left with the resonance of a book whose centre is nowhere but whose circumference is extraordinarily large.”

    Financial Times

  • “Bleakly beautiful…Burnside expertly details an apocalyptic landscape where the ‘expectation of failure’ is rampant…Burnside’s flawless prose explores how defeat is only a state of mind.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator John Lee expertly translates the story of the dreary, doomed village to the spoken word. His Scottish accent only adds to the foreignness of the world that Burnside paints. With Lee’s mesmerizing delivery the story slips from one character to another as easily as it slides from the past to the present. This is a book you won’t be able to turn off as you search for the thread that connects the mystery.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dean | 2/16/2014

    " I thought it was well written, but at the same time it is a short story that is about 150 pages too long. I kept reading, hoping that something would happen, something related to the premise of the story. When it finally did I was unimpressed and very disappointed. I wish I had followed my gut feeling about this one and stopped after the first 50 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 2/16/2014

    " Many layers to this novel "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dawn Bowerman | 1/25/2014

    " This book was really strange. I tend to start skimming when there are too many details and that is what the author does here. I never really understood what happened in the end either, it was confusing. I couldn't figure out if the kids were dead? In a parallel universe? Stuck in the plant? What, just tell me straight out! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bj | 1/3/2014

    " Billed as a horror novel, this bizarre novel goes nowhere frightening or even ... coherent. Trying to be "abstract" it succeeds only in revealing there are no ideas at the core of this "story." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christopher Farnsworth | 1/2/2014

    " Beautifully written, but I was disappointed by the lack of development. So much rich detail, and yet so little was actually explored. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie LaPlante | 12/31/2013

    " This book started out great - really interesting. By the end, I wasn't sure what is was about, which is pretty annoying after the time investment I made. But, 2 weeks after I read it, I still am thinking about it... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 12/29/2013

    " An amazing, hypnotic, ominous novel written with shockingly beautiful descriptions of moral emptiness and human culpability combined with innocence and despair. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 12/19/2013

    " Spooky and sad with a creeping horror. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 9/28/2013

    " The basis of the book is the disappearance of young boys, the meat of the book is the philosophy, the horror is the willingness of the boys going to their death. Was there redemption for the boys? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessi | 3/13/2013

    " Burnside's lyrical writing is imaginative and really nicely done. So The Glister is probably worth reading for that (and for the enjoyment of a few dark, creepy scenes). But the ending is terribly disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 2/1/2013

    " My review is online at Fiction Writers Review. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam Baber | 11/8/2012

    " A vivid and creepy hallucinatory tale told from several p.o.v. but Leonard (who enters on p. 51) possesses the voice I won't soon forget. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurel | 9/20/2012

    " I read this book in one day; each page drew me deeper and deeper into the story. I loved the language, but I have to admit I just didn't "get" the book. Horror tale? Morality play? Not sure what to think of it, but I'm sure I'll be thinking about it for a few days. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gina | 8/4/2012

    " What happened here? I think I completely missed the point of the book, not to mention what really happened at the end. Oh well. At least it was short. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colette | 7/5/2012

    " Strong sense of foreboding with many literary references. Similiar pacing and style to Lovely Bones. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Charlene | 8/22/2011

    " This book bored the pants off of me..the only thing I liked about it were some of the descriptive phrases. I don't think I'll be checking out any more of his books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sian | 7/7/2011

    " A page-turner for sure, lyrical and deeply unsettling. The poison wood, the childrens' cruel hunt at the landfill, the madness and suffering of Morrison's wife were all tangible and penetrating, but while the final chapters were suitably skin-crawling, the plot seemed to be left behind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Poietes | 6/5/2011

    " This book starts a bit slowly, but don't be deceived. It is an incredible read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Will | 5/19/2011

    " Darkly Scottish and full of adolescent angst, adult angst, and murderous angst. Great tone and characterizations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marielaplante | 4/24/2011

    " This book started out great - really interesting. By the end, I wasn't sure what is was about, which is pretty annoying after the time investment I made. But, 2 weeks after I read it, I still am thinking about it... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessi | 12/29/2010

    " Burnside's lyrical writing is imaginative and really nicely done. So The Glister is probably worth reading for that (and for the enjoyment of a few dark, creepy scenes). But the ending is terribly disappointing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Issy | 9/15/2010

    " This book was a landslide. The writing is not bad and the premise had potential but the novel just went into a weird place and then drowned there. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gina | 6/15/2010

    " What happened here? I think I completely missed the point of the book, not to mention what really happened at the end. Oh well. At least it was short. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 12/23/2009

    " What happened? I was expecting more of a procedural, based on the jacket cover. It was more literary and better than what I expected. It was also a bit on the disturbing side. But what happened? And why? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 12/1/2009

    " Beautiful language, very lyrical. Slow in places, with a nebulous ending that was satisfying even though it solves nothing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christopher | 10/12/2009

    " Beautifully written, but I was disappointed by the lack of development. So much rich detail, and yet so little was actually explored. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe | 10/1/2009

    " Exceptional prose wasted on a meandering plot with an unsatisfactory conclusion. Violence reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange and underage and kinky sex. All just a little too pointless and wierd for me. "

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About the Author
Author John Burnside

John Burnside is the author of the novel The Devil's Footprints and the memoir A Lie about My Father, as well as five works of fiction and eleven collections of poetry published in the United Kingdom.

About the Narrator

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.