When seven-year-old Jamie falls down a very long hill, he finds himself trapped in a world of strange creatures, harsh landscapes, and near-perpetual darkness. Lost and confused, Jamie is desperate to get home. The nightmares, fears, and all manner of what-ifs that inhabit this shadow world are unfamiliar to him–all except one: the Lairdbalor, Jamie’s personal nightmare, once relegated to his dreams. In this fantastical land, however, the Lairdbalor and all the fears and nightmares of children are very real.
But Jamie’s nightmare is different. It is the sum total of the anger and anxiety that imprisoned him in his former life, and it threatens to consume and rule the nightmare realm, a place where time passes differently. With each slumber, Jamie finds himself inexorably changed. The farther he travels through this terrifying world, the better he understands the one he left behind.
Crossing genres of folklore, horror, fantasy, and magical realism, The Lairdbalor is about a child, but it’s not meant for children. It’s a story for anyone who lives with anxiety and fear and has ever wondered “what if” and a darkly imaginative meditation on life, death, fear, and the nature of reality.
"A mix of magical realism and historical fiction, this story swept me away. Kaufman’s writing flows effortlessly, carrying the reader along on this magical journey. I read the book in one sitting...Recommended―a lovely read!"
Historical Novel Society
“…a superb novel of heritage and struggle that just happens to be a brilliant witch story… Kaufman’s prose is elegant and light allowing her story to come to the fore with ease leaving readers feeling light but yet resonant with the pages’ meaning. A masterly blend of mythology and modernity, Hag is a supremely satisfying novel."
Daniel Casey, Misanthropester.com
“The women [in Hag] are timeless, and much wiser than the people, regardless of the era their story takes place…Kaufman paints old world witchery that comes off as much more genuine. Perfect if you enjoy folklore and witches.”
Lolly K Dandeneau, Bookstalkerblog
"I was intrigued with Hag by Kathleen Kaufman from the first sentences. Who was the Cailleach? What was her curse? Then, the book shifted into an ordinary child's viewpoint, though we learn later that Alice and her ancestors are a "confusing mixture of magical and ordinary." The answers to those questions come in enchanting puzzle pieces that kept me reading! The aspects of time, brought out through the lovely metaphor of the ink penetrating layers of cloth, as "reality happening alongside hers, and in the same breath was long past and nothing but a memory. The two worlds spun alongside each other, neither more nor less real than the other...." still has me thinking about concepts of time! I would recommend this book especially to readers intrigued with mythology and how time might work."
Geraldine Ann Marshall, author
"Kathleen Kaufman’s rich characterization deftly makes all the magic, joy, and pain of Hag heartbreakingly real for the reader. Part incisive ethnography, part descent into the horrors of the past, this book has the binge-read-inducing feel of an honest and juicy memoir. Hag not only distinguishes itself from the crowd in contemporary dark and fantasy literature, but raises the bar. "
John Edward Lawson, author of Bibliophobia
"Hag by Kathleen Kaufman is an epic and chilling tale of Cailleach and her daughters set loose in world and destined to manifest their mother's magic in whatever era they land. Kaufman weaves a fascinating tale of feminine power. These are the stories women have been telling down through the ages. Finally, we can read them!"
Kate Jonez, Bram Stoker Award Winning Editor at Omnium Gatherum