The devil's own work: a novel
Winner of the coveted Guardian Fiction Prize in England, The Devil's Own Work is a subtle, hallucinatory tale of possession. A world-renowned writer living in the South of France owes his extraordinary career to a mysterious literary spirit - is it a demon? - that controls him. The existence of this supernatural muse, and the price it exacts, remain hidden, until the famous writer's death, when the spirit is transferred to a rising but as yet unformed literary hopeful, whose own celebrity begins immediately and inexplicably to grow. The only clues to these two possessions are an ancient, inscrutable manuscript and the continuing presence of an apparently ageless woman, who attaches herself in turn to these gifted but soon distracted and eventually desperate men. And as the narrator, a guileless teacher of literature, pieces their stories together, we begin to see what can happen when an artist surrenders to the charms of fame. Written as an homage to Ford Madox Ford and The Good Soldier, Alan Judd's new novel holds us suspended between seeing and understanding. It is a parable of the perils of creativity, and an acerbically witty commentary on the literary world.