by Greg Schutz
What is The Glister? To my dismay as a reviewer but my delight as a reader, John Burnside’s seventh novel defies encapsulation. The title itself suggests the book’s strangeness: the word, a synonym of “glitter,” seems composed of equal parts “glisten” and “blister.” In the way it compounds beauty and ugliness, it is a microcosm of the book as a whole. The Glister is neither a straightforward horror story nor an allegory à la Animal Farm, though at times it masquerades as both.