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Reviews – Page 40 – Scottish Review of Books


Volume 4 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

October 19, 2009
by Gerald Daw

Netherland Joseph O’Neill FOURTH ESTATE, £14.99 pp256 ISBN 9780007269068 Cork-born O’Neill’s Netherland is a complex and meditative work of fiction. The title refers to the protagonist’s childhood recollections of The Hague; it also demarcates the psychological and geographic aftermath of...

A Tale of Two Unions

October 19, 2009
by Patrick Geoghegan

HOW DID THEY pass the Union? By perjury and fraud. By slaves who sold their land for gold, as Judas sold his God”. These lines were written in the late-nineteenth century about the Irish Act of Union of 1800, but they could just as easily have been written at any time over the past three hundred years...

From Hume to Bloom

October 19, 2009
by Cairns Craig

IN 1822 WALTER Scott was the organising genius behind the famous visit of George IV to Edinburgh, turning the tartan-bedecked city and the tartan-clad King into a celebration not only of Scotland’s military virtues, as evidenced on the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars, and of the Highland traditions...

Boosters and Begrudgers

October 19, 2009
by Graham Walker

INTRODUCING Luck And The Irish, his study of the recent remarkable economic and cultural transformation of the Republic of Ireland, Roy Foster refers in passing to the “intriguing parallels” presented by “new-look Scotland”. Foster goes on to write of “the alteration and expansion of the...

Hammer of the Scots

October 19, 2009
by Karl Miller

ONE WAY OF discovering whether or not you love your native country, in my case Scotland, is to read a book by a writer you admire which runs the country down. I am an Anglo-Scot who has spent most of his working life in Lon-don, and much of it writing about Scottish literature; and I am largely an enemy...


October 15, 2009

The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle. Russell Millar HARVILL SECKER, £20.00 pp516, ISBN Reviewer: ALLAN MASSIE There is an old publishing belief that there is always a market for books on Mary, Queen of Scots, Napoleon and Churchill. Judging by the number of biographers he has attracted, Conan Doyle...

Edwin Muir’s Ecosystem of Sounds

October 15, 2009
by Robert Crawford

RHYME IS A retrospective pleasure. It’s true that in poetry we can come to anticipate rhyme-words, listening for them as they approach, but when they arrive they always confirm something that has gone before. However partial, innovative or glancing, they are essentially echoic. If the word ‘echo’...


October 15, 2009
by Theresa Munoz

17 Bill Drummond BEAUTIFUL BOOKS, £12.99 pp410, ISBN 9781905636266 “Imagine waking up tomorrow, all music had disappeared. All musical instruments, all forms of recorded music, gone”. This musical Year Zero reverie is Drum-mond’s starting point in 17, a scrambled memoir-come-manifesto. His solution...

All Academic

October 15, 2009
by Ian Bell

IT TOOK ME a long time to understand that I was employed in something – some things? – called the media. A journalist in the original sense of the word – paper, ink, writing, reading, fact and opinion – winces at the unlovely plural, far less the politicians’ ignorant conviction that one medium...

Amazing Gray

October 15, 2009
by Paul Henderson Scott

ALASDAIR GRAY IS an extraordinary man, both in his strong points and in his weaknesses. It is rare for anyone to have great ability both in writing and in the visual arts. He has read widely and he seems to have retained most of it in his memory. As Joe Murray, the type-setter who worked on the design-intensive...