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Publisher's Summary

After Edward, a rising young author, pens a savage review of the new novel by the world-famous O.M. Tyrell, he is surprised to receive an invitation to visit the old man at his villa in the south of France. The night of their meeting, Tyrell dies, and soon after, Edward's career mysteriously starts to soar as he earns fame, fortune and critical acclaim. But despite his achievements, Edward seems haunted, even tormented. His friend, the narrator, begins to put together the pieces of the story: an ancient, inscrutable manuscript, a beautiful, ageless woman who attaches herself to any writer who possesses it, and a bargain to achieve success at a terrible price....

Winner of Britain's prestigious Guardian Fiction Prize, Alan Judd's modern classic The Devil's Own Work (1991) is, as Owen King writes in the new introduction to this edition, "a perfect novel about the demonic possession that is literary ambition." This edition also features a new afterword by the author, in which he reveals the inspirations for this haunting tale.

©1991, 2017 Alan Judd (P)2017 Valancourt Books

Critic Reviews

"At once moral fable, cautionary ghost story and inspired attack on the whole hellbent drift of modern letters, this is a splendid tale, splendidly told, which Ford or Henry James would have been glad to have written." - Robert Nye, Guardian

"Wry and insightful...toys with the notion of demonic possession but becomes a thoroughly realistic and highly original story of revenge; a chilling cautionary tale." - Elaine Kendall, Los Angeles Times

"A brief return to the world of Faust, Mephistopheles and the Devil pact. Mr. Judd...achieves a deep polish." - Robert Grudin, The New York Times Book Review

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Beautifully written!

This is a beautifully written short story and it achieves what many short stories are unable to achieve; a natural unhurried flow to a satisfying ending. It doesn't need to be any longer or any shorter than it is - the length is just right. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about the demonic girlfriend/muse character but overall I thought the character development was good. Additionally the author, Alan Judd, provides many thoughtful insights about life and the human experience in general while telling the story. Moments that have leave the reader stopping and thinking, "yeah, he's right about that" or "I hadn't thought about it in that way, but what an elegant way to put it". All told, it's actually quite remarkable how much the author is able to pack into this compact novel. The reader did a very nice job with this story as well. His British accent was truly unique and remarkably similar to a theater professor I once had many years ago. This particular professor was born in the UK but had lived all over the world before finally settling in the US. I found the accent very applicable given that this character had also lived in a couple different places after starting out in England. As always, Matt Godfrey's voice is totally soothing, even whilst reading thrillers/horror novels. An added surprise bonus at the end was the author's post notes in which he described his own life experiences that ultimately inspired this story. Thank you Audiobook Boom, Alan Judd, and Matt Godfrey for a complimentary version of this audiobook in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.