Three wonderfully original, linked novellas based on true stories from the winner of the Paris Review's Discovery Award. A new voice from Yorkshire, John Barlow has been compared to Michel Faber and T.C. Boyle. This is his first book. A winged cat wreaks havoc in a Yorkshire workhouse. An autumnal romance between two pork pie makers is celebrated with a donkey wedding. The strange career of Michael 'Cast Iron' Mulligan is revealed by his unlucky apprentice Captain Gusto, both men who eat – and eat anything – for a living. These are the stories that mark the debut of one of fiction's most original and assured new voices. And, remarkably, they all are based on fact. Gypsies, Victorian businessmen, servants, masters and unwise children come together in three gothic and moving novellas of magic and deception. Largely set in the nineteenth century, they combine the satisfactions of the finest novels with a playfulness that does not forfeit humanity. With the comic sensibility of Dickens and a taste for the macabre worthy of Irvine Welsh, John Barlow is a storyteller with a unique imagination who will continue to amaze and entertain us for many years to come.