Recently bereaved Jamie is staying at a rural steading in the heart of Scotland with his actor boyfriend Alex. The sudden loss of both of Jamie’s parents hangs like a shadow over the trip. In his grief, Jamie finds himself sifting through bittersweet memories, from his working-class upbringing in Edinburgh to his bohemian twenties in London, with a growing awareness of his sexuality threaded through these formative years. In the present, when Alex is called away to an audition, Jamie can no longer avoid the pull of the past: haunted by an inescapable failure to share his full self with his parents, he must confront his unresolved feelings towards them.
In spare, evocative prose, Allan Radcliffe tells a wistful coming-of-age story and paints a tender portrait of grief in all its complexities.
‘Allan Radcliffe is an accomplished writer of short stories and he brings some of that same spare beauty to his debut novel. This poignant Bildungsroman is at once a tender tale of queer awakening in the Edinburgh of the 80’s and 90’s and a heart-breaking love letter from a young man to his lost parents. Suffused with longing for those precious moments in life we can never get back, it is written through with gleaming prose and a quiet sense of hope’ — Mary Paulson-Ellis, bestselling author of The Other Mrs Walker, The Inheritance of Soloman Farthing and Emily Noble’s Disgrace
‘Allan Radcliffe’s debut touched my heart with its quiet, intimate look at grief, love, family and romantic relationships, told with masterful spare prose. It is both insightful and observant, warm and infinitely relatable. I will be thinking of Jamie and his story for a long time.‘ — Henry Fry, author of First Time for Everything
‘A rippling, multifaceted jewel of a novel – elegant and unshowy, it dazzles with a distinct and irresistible inner luminosity. Poignant and compelling, it is resonant with vivid images. The writing flows, emotive and understated, with an enigmatic and impressive momentum. A stunning, indelible debut.’ — Kevin MacNeil, author of The Brilliant & Forever
‘Delicately observed but with an edge, moving and real. One for the gay Scottish Canon.’ — Zoë Strachan author of Ever Fallen in Love
‘The Old Haunts is equally heart-warming and sorrowful. Each and every sentence has been so elegantly penned by the author that he makes it look easy. Allan Radcliffe has a wonderful way of seeing and describing people, looking at them through a very soft lens focussed with compassion. It was a pleasure to read and a breath of fresh air in an ordinarily stuffy scene.’ — The Scots Magazine
‘Written with an honesty and understanding that is rare, it’s a novel full of love, kindness, and compassion, but also regret and even contrition – a mix of emotions that will be familiar to most … The Old Haunts stands not only as an exemplary piece of writing, but one with the power to help readers better understand themselves, and others. You really can’t ask for much more.’ — The Skinny
‘Compact yet powerful’ — The List
‘Poignant and evocative’ — Books from Scotland