Cover: Grey Dog by Elliott Gish

Grey Dog

Gish, Elliott

  • “Gish’s prose is as sharp as a scalpel.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

    Grey Dog is a bewitching tale of the horrors of spinsterhood in the early 1900s, with madness and magic threaded through every sentence.” — Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads and Lullabies for Little Criminals

    A subversive literary horror novel that disrupts the tropes of women’s historical fiction with delusions, wild beasts, and the uncontainable power of female rage

    The year is 1901, and Ada Byrd — spinster, schoolmarm, amateur naturalist — accepts a teaching post in isolated Lowry Bridge, grateful for the chance to re-establish herself where no one knows her secrets. She develops friendships with her neighbors, explores the woods with her students, and begins to see a future in this tiny farming community. Her past — riddled with grief and shame — has never seemed so far away.

    But then, Ada begins to witness strange and grisly phenomena: a swarm of dying crickets, a self-mutilating rabbit, a malformed faun. She soon believes that something old and beastly — which she calls Grey Dog — is behind these visceral offerings, which both beckon and repel her. As her confusion deepens, her grip on what is real, what is delusion, and what is traumatic memory loosens, and Ada takes on the wildness of the woods, behaving erratically and pushing her newfound friends away. In the end, she is left with one question: What is the real horror? The Grey Dog, the uncontainable power of female rage, or Ada herself?


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  • Elliott Gish is a writer and librarian from Halifax, where she lives with her partner. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio, Gish’s fiction has appeared in many journals, including the New Quarterly, the Baltimore Review, and the Dalhousie Review, and was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize.

  • Published: April 2024

    ISBN: 9781770417328

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 400


“Gish’s prose is as sharp as a scalpel...The novel’s diaristic format lends itself perfectly to the revelations that unfold, and the ending will haunt readers long after the final page is turned.” — Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

Grey Dog is a slow-burn feminist horror novel with a lush setting and an explosive payoff.” — Foreword Reviews

“Elliott Gish has produced a ripe, exquisitely rendered gothic in which wildernesses, both interior and natural, are dangerous, seductive, and bloody spaces. Ada Byrd is an iconic character, equal to Carmilla or Eleanor Vance.” — Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog

Grey Dog is a bewitching tale of the horrors of spinsterhood in the early 1900s, with madness and magic threaded through every sentence. Elliott Gish transforms the multiple ways in which women were psychologically abused and viciously monitored into a gorgeous vision of folk horror, feral girl children, and wondrous monsters.” — Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads

Grey Dog is a perfect horror novel for all of us who love classic novels about women and womanhood, as well as anyone who appreciates historical fiction carefully telling the stories of queer characters. Grey Dog is sweet and picturesque until it’s not; Ada’s unhinging is slow to come to focus. The pacing of this is flawless, I cannot expend enough words on how incredibly creepy it was, in the very best of ways. And it also plays on that glut of historical fiction that so many girls are given as children if they’re in any way bookish: if you were one of those girls, you will appreciate Grey Dog on an even deeper level because of these callbacks.” — Miramichi Reader

“Gish’s ability to focus on the sensuality of bodily horror in a way that explores queer desire and female urges is unique and is impossible not to admire.” — White Wall Review

“Unfolding entirely through Ada’s richly detailed diary entries, Gish’s atmospheric debut is a heady blend of literary fiction and gothic horror that captures one woman’s descent in the face of an oppressive society. Reminiscent of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” in its exploration of feminist themes, this slow-burn tale will also appeal to fans of Robert Eggers’ 2015 folk horror film, The Witch.” — Booklist

Grey Dog is a haunting historical gothic, exquisitely detailed and suffused with queer longing, violent trauma, and escalating dread. Set your first impressions aside: this is a work of overwhelming intensity that will take you in its teeth and shake you.” — David Demchuk, author of Red X

Grey Dog is a slow-burn horror story that unfolds so smoothly and subtly you don’t realize until it’s far too late that all the walls are on fire and the story has its hands wrapped around your throat. A thrilling ride.” — Suzette Mayr, author of The Sleeping Car Porter

“Gish’s fiction debut is like a simmering pot or a mind fraying at the edges: What starts seemingly small can balloon quickly. And within the Halifax librarian’s Grey Dog is a story that is both a feat as well as a literary treat: A tale that can pull you along through its prose while something deep and harrowing builds, waiting for its reveal.” — The Coast

“Gish has the incredible ability to generate a sense of fear and danger in even the most seemingly innocuous moments.” — The Lesbrary

“Gish has created a memorable character in Ada Byrd and I’m fairly certain that anyone who picks up Grey Dog will be enamored with Ada and her journey.” — The Horror Bookshelf