The Glutton: A Novel
A New York Times EDITORS’ CHOICE | MOST ANTICIPATED by The Guardian • Paste Magazine • LitHub • The Millions • Library Journal
From the prizewinning author of The Manningtree Witches, a subversive historical novel set during the French Revolution, inspired by a young peasant boy turned showman, said to have been tormented and driven to murder by an all-consuming appetite.
“Obscenely beautiful…Every sentence is gorgeous...Powerful and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This year, I found myself seeking one quality above all others from the books I read: escapism. And no book plunged me into another world quite so bracingly as The Glutton.” —Vogue
1798, France. Nuns move along the dark corridors of a Versailles hospital where the young Sister Perpetué has been tasked with sitting with the patient who must always be watched. The man, gaunt, with his sallow skin and distended belly, is dying: they say he ate a golden fork, and that it’s killing him from the inside. But that’s not all—he is rumored to have done monstrous things in his attempts to sate an insatiable appetite…an appetite they say tortures him still.
Born in an impoverished village to a widowed young mother, Tarare was once overflowing with quiet affection: for the Baby Jesus and the many Saints, for his mother, for the plants and little creatures in the woods and fields around their house. He spends his days alone, observing the delicate charms of the countryside. But his world is not a gentle one—and soon, life as he knew it is violently upended. Tarare is pitched down a chaotic path through revolutionary France, left to the mercy of strangers, and increasingly, bottomlessly, ravenous.
This exhilarating, disquieting novel paints a richly imagined life for The Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon in 18th-century France: a world of desire, hunger and poverty; hope, chaos and survival. As in her cult hit The Manningtree Witches, Blakemore showcases her stunning lyricism and deep compassion for characters pushed to the edge of society in The Glutton, her most unputdownable work yet.
Praise for The Glutton: A Novel
“Obscenely beautiful…Powerful and provocative.”—The New York Times Book Review
"Utterly gripping... Just as immersive and vividly realized as any work of science fiction or fantasy—and a lot more gory."—Vogue
"There are few writers who can be truly likened to Hilary Mantel, but Blakemore is one."—The Observer
"One of the best books of the year."—The Guardian
"Blakemore takes Tarare’s life, recorded only in a medical paper, and puts the meat on the bones... what meat it is."—Evening Standard
"Rivetingly inserting itself into the blanks of the historical record, this is a smart, endlessly stylish novel, glinting with sly intelligence and humour."—Daily Mail
"Blakemore's writing is exceptional, saturated with the viscera of this life."—The Telegraph
"[The Glutton] has the most visceral, haunting, and downright disturbing historical premises we’ve seen in a while."—Paste (most anticipated)
"The great gift of this novel is that Blakemore somehow never loses sight of the warm, thrumming humanity that is Tarare... The Glutton a stunning, mesmeric novel of uncommon power."—BookPage (starred review)
"Atmospherically charged and written in eloquent and compassionate prose, this is a lusty feast."—Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"[Blakemore] deftly questions what terrible appetites develop when people are denied love and a place in the world... Viseral and haunting."—Kirkus
"Gorgeous and brutal, striking and wise, The Glutton is, at its core, a rich story of the lengths we will go to find belonging... Absolutely outstanding."—Chelsea Bieker, author of Heartbroke
"An embarrassment of riches. A sensory assault fit to slap any reader awake."—Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Dance Tree
"The Glutton contains some of the most striking writing I have read in a very long time."—Keiran Goddard, author of Hourglass
"The Glutton is an extraordinary accomplishment, a truly horrible and truly glorious novel. I devoured it."—Annie Garthwaite, author of Cecily