"it came from its box as ugly and as poisonous as a vampire bat"
"Like the bird, the book is beautiful and ugly, intriguing and upsetting, appealing and appalling, in its different, changing moods."
The Cormorant is not only effective as a horror story, but as literary fiction with a weird bent as well. The ambiguity here left me thinking about it long after I'd finished, going through evidence in my head for both the psychological and supernatural. Writing it down now, I'm still thinking about it. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough, although on many levels it is a difficult read, so beware.
Once again my many thanks to the very good people at Parthian.