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Reviews – Page 39 – Scottish Review of Books


Only Connect

October 19, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

WHEN I ATTENDED university, probably around the same time that Andrew Crumey did, it was pretty much a given that arts students and science students looked down on each other’s work. Science thought art lazed in bed till lunch-time and sat exams a two-year-old could pass; art despised science’s...

Westward Ho!

October 19, 2009
by Brian Morton

In his ‘Cornish Heroic Song For Valda Trevlyn’, Hugh MacDiarmid makes much of the connections between Cornwall and Scotland: not just their marriage, or the reproduction “golden lunula” he has made for her – “Linking the Early Bronze Age and the Twentieth Century” – but also something...

Volume 4 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

October 19, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Missy Chris Hannan CHATTO AND WINDUS, £12.99 pp304 ISBN 0701180439 This debut novel by award-winning playwright Hannan is about as good as storytelling gets. Missy is the colloquial name for opium in mid-nineteenth century California, and heroine Dol, “flash-girl”, has quite a taste for it. When...

Love Craft

October 19, 2009
by Pat Kane

IF THE DEFINITION of a craftsman, according to the social philosopher Richard Sennett, is someone who is “dedicated to good work for its own sake”, then in my own family I have known (or known of) at least two craftsmen of note (one of which, to be precise, is a craftswoman). My namesake and grandfather,...

Aff Wi’Her Heid!

October 19, 2009
by Harry Reid

THE LIFE OF MARY, Queen of Scots is generally presented as a tragedy. It could equally be regarded as a comedy, if a somewhat grisly one. Her story is at once a curious succession of mishaps and a series of grotesque misjudgements. It may ultimately be viewed as an extended misadventure. Whether all...

Close But No Cigar

October 19, 2009
by George Rosie

IT’S ALWAYS THE STUFF we didn’t know about that makes a senior politician’s memoir worth reading. The less the politician has to lose the more beans he’s likely to spill. And in his autobiography Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell, the recently-deposed leader of Lib Dems, spills quite a few. Here’s...

Mad About the Boy

October 19, 2009
by Ian Bell

WHEN ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET bid a definitive adieu to his devotees recently, the London obituarists achieved a tentative consensus. Formal French brilliance, they conceded; and high seriousness on every page. Foremost among the nouveaux romanciers, they said, this was a man who really thought about the...

Volume 4 – Issue 3 – Reviews

October 19, 2009

Selected Poems Bernard O’Donoghue FABER, £12.99 pp117 ISBN 9780571236381 Reviewer: HAYDEN MURPHY There is an air of disturbed memories rather than expressed distress throughout this Selected Poems from the Irish born, English based poet and academic Bernard O’Donoghue. It is largely drawn from...

A Critics’ Orgy

October 19, 2009
by Patrick Crotty

The first of the three volumes of The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, EUP’s magisterial survey of Scottish writing, uses as the opening part of its title the name of a sixth century Irish saint who wrote poems about the pain of exile from his native Derry; the title of the third refers...

Peace Work

October 19, 2009
by John D Brewer

EVERY WAR IS the defining moment in the history of those who fought them, the instant when everything changed. But if their war was the one to end all wars, peacemakers undergoing the same life-changing transition tend to universalize their peace process as the one that promotes all others. Both end...