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Cover for Rustication


A Novel

Charles Palliser


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/3/2014)


One of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly

“Endlessly fascinating…one of the strongest novels of the year. ” - School Library Journal

“Readers will have as much grisly fun just sorting out the facts as they will solving the mysteries.” -The Daily Beast

A vertiginous gothic masterpiece from the best-selling author of The Quincunx.

Charles Palliser’s work has been hailed as “so compulsively absorbing that reality disappears” (New York Times). Since his extraordinary debut, The Quincunx, his works have sold over one million copies worldwide. With his new novel, Rustication, he returns to the town of Thurchester, which he evoked so hauntingly in The Unburied.

It is winter 1863, and Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down—“rusticated”—from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by sexual desire, he finds temporary refuge in a dilapidated old mansion on the southern English coast inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among his neighbors, and Richard finds himself the leading suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to murder.

Atmospheric, lurid, and brilliantly executed, Rustication confirms Palliser’s reputation as “our leading contemporary Victorian novelist” (Guardian).

Praise For Rustication: A Novel

Rustication is an ingenious take on the traditional Victorian Gothic novel, daring us to unravel the dark and twisting tale of a murder that hasn’t happened yet. The gripping voice and masterful plotting swirl together in a relentless undertow of gothic intrigue and dread that’s impossible to resist. Not that you’ll want to. This is a brilliant read.

— Kieran Shields, author of The Truth of All Things

Charles Palliser is a wonderful novelist, and Rustication is a wonderful novel.

— Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost

Will appeal to fans of John Harwood and Michael Cox. Palliser vividly captures the claustrophobic feeling of a small Victorian community being overwhelmed by anxiety and mistrust, and fans of twisty plots will enjoy guessing at the town’s many secrets as they sift through the rumors and gossip offered up by a well-drawn cast of darkly quirky characters.
— Library Journal

A wickedly entertaining, intricately plotted read.
— Publishers Weekly

Palliser’s hold on his narrative is enough to turn it into an exercise in pure form. As in a superior detective novel, character, scene and incidental detail fade away and all that remains is the thrill of the chase.
— D.J. Taylor - The Spectator

A gothic puzzler perfect for misty autumn evenings.
— Stephanie Merritt - The Guardian

Engrossing… an entertaining, stylized, Gothic-esque read.
— Tucker Shaw - The Denver Post

[A] provocative Victorian thriller… showcases the author’s originality, boldness, and range.
— Gabe Habash - Publishers Weekly

Readers will have as much grisly fun just sorting out the facts as they will solving the mysteries.
— Nicholas Mancusi - The Daily Beast

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393088724, 336pp.

Publication Date: November 4, 2013

About the Author

Charle Palliser was born in Massachusetts, but has lived in the UK since the age of three. A graduate of Oxford University, he writes full time in London.