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The Dumb House

As a child, Luke s mother often tells him the story of the Dumb House, an experiment on newborn babies raised in silence, designed to test the innateness of language. As Luke grows up, his interest in language and the delicate balance of life and death leads to amateur dissections of small animals tiny hearts revealed still pumping, as life trickles away. But as an adult, following the death of his mother, Luke s obsession deepens, resulting in a haunting and bizarre experiment on Luke s own children.
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John Burnside's first novel, his profoundly disturbing and beautifully written story of scientific curiosity gone awry

About the Author

John Burnside s recent books include the poetry collection All One Breath, the book of storiesSomething Like Happy the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year the novel A Summer of Drowning,shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Prize, and his poetry collection, Black Cat Bone, which won both the 2011 Forward Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. He is a Professor of English at St Andrews.


"Compelling reading" * Scotsman * "A wonderfully disturbing book - chillingly focused and lyrically amoral with moments of remarkable stillness and beauty. A poetic novel in the best and most troubling sense" -- A. L. Kennedy "Burnside's prose is exquisite and he dissects his themes with delicacy to produce a novel resonant with poetic menace" * Sunday Times * "An exceptionally sinister book... It is the story of Luke, whose experiments into the nature of human language are recounted with all the beguiling reasonableness of the highly intelligent madman... The horror is tempered and fine-tuned by the exceptional beauty of Burnside's writing... In Luke, Burnside has produced one of the most chilling voices in recent fiction" * Times Literary Supplement * "My favourite book of the year" * Jen Campbell's vlog *

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