Reviews

Flowers of Scotland

June 9, 2017
by David Black

Some books, like old sepia calotypes, have a way of freezing a moment in time. The scenes captured by Victorian photographers were largely unpeopled, thanks to their long exposure times. A child may pose on a doorstep, face screwed up against the sun, a fishwife may stand guarding her creel; otherwise...

Small Island

March 3, 2017
by Dani Garavelli

Call it serendipity, but even as Annalena McAfee’s new book Hame – an exploration of language and identity centred on a fictional island poet – was being posted out to reviewers, the country was, once again, getting itself all het up about the alleged politicisation of the Scots tongue.

God’s Sleuth!

March 3, 2017
by Todd McEwen

You can get too much Sherlock Holmes. I once met the editor of a magazine called The Holmesian Observer. I read the Complete Sherlock Holmes while growing up, so I took an interest. Holmesian Observer? Looks good, I remarked innocently. The guy said, Actually it’s pronounced Holmeeesian. 

Her Bloody Project

March 3, 2017
by Richard W. Strachan

In Dilys Rose’s graceful and elliptical fiction, the mundane reality of everyday life is often a kind of spiritual and intellectual prison. Mothers and children, wives and husbands, drifters who never go anywhere – all her disparate characters are united by a sense that real life is happening elsewhere,...

The Ghost Writer

March 3, 2017
by Zoë Strachan

‘Writing is what I steal from the usual flow of things,’ Burnside wrote recently in the Guardian, describing working through the enforced wakefulness of sleep-disordered nights. Goodness knows how much he would produce if his writing life was perfect.

Strange Meeting

March 3, 2017
by Colin Waters

In most histories of the First World War Edinburgh rarely rates a mention. However, the War Collection at Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus presents a case for Edinburgh’s importance in this period as a centre of literary and medical innovation.

All Along The Watchtower

March 3, 2017
by Neal Ascherson 

Kapka Kassabova is a modern Scheherazade – a dazzling writer who tells stories as if her life depended on it. And these tales are not her own fiction.

Wheesht!

March 3, 2017
by Rosemary Goring

A man walks into the Mitchell Library: Reader: Have you got a book on Glasgow, mister? Librarian: Aye, 4000! Reader: Well, it’s the north of the city. Librarian: Oh, aye, here, there’s this, there’s that. Reader: It’s round about Maryhill. Librarian: Well, there’s a wee history of it. Reader:...

Disappearing Glasgow: A Photographic Journey

November 18, 2016

All cities are inchoate, none more so than Glasgow. 

Who do you love?

November 18, 2016
by Pat Kane

You can assume that the ambiguity in the title of this dense, lyrical and thrillingly intelligent book has been carefully mused over. I should disclose immediately that I’m in the end credits, along with some other usual suspects, as an early adviser.