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The Crack Magazine


Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan

What struck me about Jenni Fagan’s Edinburgh based modern gothic masterpiece, Luckenbooth, among other things, is the radical intent that underlies it. Like an outsider call to arms there’s quotes a plenty stating what side of the line these characters are on, “They call themselves - government. That single word seems to be used as a get-out clause for literally any old degenerate behaviour”, or, “I will enter the system from the inside and work my way out. Who says it can’t be done? We must file our history differently and put the false stories to bed.” And these are just two of the many such well-aimed jabs directed at the powers that be. Then again when the main character is the Devil’s daughter, who, even when not on page, looms over proceedings in judgement, then I guess one should expect the minimum of fence sitting (of any kind). At the pivotal point in the novel William Burroughs makes an appearance and suddenly the untethered ‘word virus’ pushing the novel through the decades to a kind of resolution becomes clear as the various struggling characters try to find their place in the world against the sexual, political, cultural and supernatural odds stacked against them. You won’t read anything like Luckenbooth anytime soon. Are you ready for an exhilarating and exhausting emotional literary trip?

Luckenbooth – Jenni Fagan – Publ. by Windmill - £8.99

Steven Long