“She did not want to be organised at all. She wanted to be solitary and free.”
This is the story of Jenny Flower, London slum child, who one day, on an outing to the country, meets a Dark Stranger with horns on his head. It is the first day of August — Lammas — a witches’ sabbath. Jenny was born on Hallowe’en, and possibly descended from witches herself . . .
Reminiscent of Machen’s, “The White People”, Lucifer and the Child is a tale of witchcraft — or is it? The author does not commit herself; merely stating that the story is open to natural explanation; alternatively, she invites “the willing suspension of disbelief”.
“There is never any name for the impact of strangeness on the commonplace,” Mannin writes. With this sensibility Lucifer and the Child will at last be recognised as a classic of strange fiction and a work to be enjoyed by contemporary lovers of the genre.
Once banned in Ireland by the Censorship of Publications Board, Lucifer and the Child is now available worldwide in this splendid new edition from Swan River Press featuring an introduction by Rosanne Rabinowitz and cover by Lorena Carrington.
Ethel Mannin (1900-1984) was a best-selling author born and bred in South London. Her first novel, Martha, was published in 1923, having first been entered in a writing competition. She continued to write at an astonishing pace, producing over fifty novels during her long career, plus multiple volumes of short stories, autobiographies, travel and political writing. Mannin was also a lifelong socialist, feminist, and anti-fascist. She died in Devon at the age of 84.