Claire Mulligan
The Dark

Book Cover

Part haunting mystery, part riveting historical fiction, and wholly a literary tour-de-force, The Dark deftly ushers the reader into the shadowy border between life and death as it tells the tale of the infamous Fox Sisters: Leah, Maggie and Katie. In their heyday in New York during the mid-1800s, the controversial sisters founded the Spiritualist Movement, a pseudo-religion that attracted numerous avid followers to its sťances in darkened parlours, where the grief-struck, the curious and the desperate — among them influential Quakers, prominent New Yorkers and powerful politicians — sought to communicate with the dead. These followers launched the humble-born sisters into a glittering new world of celebrity, with its attendant wealth and romantic entanglements as well as unwelcome scrutiny and scandal. Although they were dogged by controversy, subjected to ever-more-intrusive questioning, and grew susceptible to drink and dissolution, the sisters stoically maintained that they were not frauds, and that the dead could truly speak — that is, until a final unforgiveable transgression by one sister tore their bonds apart.

Now, in 1893, only the middle sister, Maggie — penniless, ill and forgotten — is left alive. A mysterious caregiver named Mrs. Mellon is her one lifeline to the world. Although Mrs. Mellon clearly prides herself on her pragmatism and skepticism, she cannot resist prompting the wry, black-witted Maggie into revealing her family's darkest secrets. But is Mrs. Mellon — a woman with a few murky secrets of her own — Maggie's confessor, her saviour, her interrogator or the last person upon whom a Fox sister is working her finely honed art?

Praise for Claire Mulligan's The Dark:

"Claire Mulligan's latest novel, The Dark, is that rare animal, scarcely seen: a story so compelling it feels destined for bestseller-dom, yet rendered in a style that brings to mind the ever-vivid, perspicacious (and hilarious) Flannery O'Connor. Style meet content; content meet style — Mulligan's novel has it all." —The Globe and Mail

"The Dark walks a tightrope between mystery and literary fiction. Mulligan's writing is sharp and propulsive without sacrificing authenticity or tone, and the dense, detailed plot refuses to buckle as it moves steadily toward its altogether rewarding conclusion." —Quill & Quire

"Mulligan's understanding of the period lends a real richness to the story... The lexicon of the novel is also redolent of the period, and you can sense Mulligan luxuriating in the richness of it... offering us the opportunity to experience spiritualism as a new and fascinating phenomena." —National Post

"The Dark is a triumph. It delves into the past with skill and precision. It reflects on what and why people believe what they do. It feels palpably real and it is hugely entertaining." —The Vancouver Sun

"[Mulligan] adeptly knits reality with fiction... [her] effort is noble and the story of the Fox sisters bewitching." —Toronto Star

"As in her previous novel, Mulligan displays her talent for historical research in The Dark. She uses the surging changes of the mid-19th century, including women's suffrage, the Temperance movement, the abolition of slavery and the carnage of the American Civil War, as well as inventions such as the telegraph, to show a time in which anything seemed possible." —Winnipeg Free Press

Praise for Claire Mulligan's The Reckoning of Boston Jim:

Longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist for the 2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

The Reckoning of Boston Jim marks the appearance of a writer fully in command of her strengths. It deserves every accolade that can be applied to it.”—Vancouver Sun

“This is a clever and assured first novel that deserves to be noticed and announces a strong new voice in Canadian storytelling.”—Quill & Quire (starred review)

Length: 400 pp
Setting: New York
Period: 19th century
Publication Date: May 2013

Canadian rights, Doubleday Canada
French Canadian rights, Éditions Alto

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Claire Mulligan

Originally from British Columbia, Claire Mulligan has travelled extensively, and currently lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children.

Her website can be found at www.clairemulligan.com