A piercingly original debut about the limits of forgiveness, from an award-winning Scottish poet

* A Scotsman 'Best Book of 2023' *

From an award-winning Scottish poet, an unforgettable novel about memory and radical forgiveness

How far would you go to overcome the limits of your own forgiveness?

Quinn is serving a life sentence for a crime he's convinced he hasn't committed. Surely the authorities have got it wrong, and when they find his childhood sweetheart, Andrea, his name will be cleared. His parole date is drawing near when he receives an unexpected letter from Andrea's mother, who invites Quinn to share her home.

It soon becomes clear that what appears to be a genuine act of forgiveness is influenced by more complex motivations. As the duo navigate the thorny terrain of guilt, justice and mutual need that underpins their relationship, the story of Quinn's past is gradually revealed, setting in motion a final reckoning.

Em Strang's first novel is a hypnotic rendering of an unravelling mind and a visceral story about the very limits of forgiveness.

About the author(s)

Em Strang is a poet and writer from Scotland. She has a PhD from the University of Glasgow, and in 2014 was selected for a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award. She is the author of several books of poetry including Bird-Woman (2016), which was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prize and was awarded the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award 2017. Quinn is her first novel.


'Quite remarkable... Strang is an exceptionally accomplished writer.' The Scotsman

'Eerie and moving... Quinn is a haunting fable about redemption, rendered in otherworldly, poetic prose.' FT

'A fascinating fever dream of a book... What a novelistic debut from Em Strang.' AL Kennedy, author of We Are Attempting to Survive Our Time

'Arresting… [with] a Max Porter-like intensity.' Daily Mail