James Hogg’s great novel is set in eighteenth-century Edinburgh, a city of night and shadow, of lurking eavesdroppers and invisible pursuers, of gloomy wynds and crepuscular crannies. The novel splits and doubles itself, its themes, and its characters: two texts, one following the other, are written from two different points of view; narrating the same terrible story, they contradict each other here and there, forming an asymmetrical diptych, all the more compelling for its discordancy and conflicts.
— Marina Warner
A work so moving, so funny, so impassioned, so exact and so mysterious, that its emergence from a long history of neglect came as a surprise which has yet to lose its resonance.
— Karl Miller, The Times Literary Supplement
Neglected at first, this brilliant short novel has climbed in the esteem of readers until it is now regarded as one of the glories of English literature—or, for those who like to subdivide these matters, of Scottish literature.
— John Wain