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Reviews – Page 41 – Scottish Review of Books


World’s End Murders

October 15, 2009
by Frederic Lindsay

IN OCTOBER 1977, two girls were abducted and murdered. They had vanished after an evening in The World’s End, a tourist pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The next day the violated bodies of the girls were found, Christine Eadie on a beach in East Lothian and her friend Helen Scott on farmland a...

Cow Bhoys and Indians

October 15, 2009
by Owen Dudley Edwards

ANAETHER history book, Colin? Aye, well, some of it’ll be true, and some of it’ll nae”. This is the first page, and the best in his book. (And in all fairness, it may well be the best first sentence any history book could have, and it is the best sentence in this review). The speaker was Professor...

Bohemian Rhapsody

October 15, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

I CHOSE THIS PLACE to live, believing that I would find anonymity among those who did not care if the plaster and glass and paintwork of rented houses splintered and decayed, who were not reproached by gardens gone to seed and rotting sofas…”. So says the narrator at the beginning of Shena...

Volume 5 – Issue 3 – Reviews

October 14, 2009

Death Of A Ladies’ Man Alan Bissett HACHETTE SCOTLAND, £12.99 pp432, ISBN 9780755319404 Reviewer: SEAN BELL As if Leonard Cohen hadn’t been ripped off enough. First his manager, now the Falkirk Personality of the Year. With his third novel, Alan Bissett pinches his title from Canada’s greatest...

Report Card

October 14, 2009
by Owen Dudley Edwards

SIR KENNETH CALMAN introduced his 15-member Commission’s ‘Final Report’ with no misgivings as to its claim to discuss ‘Scotland and the United Kingdom in the 21st century’. Yet any realistic student of 21st century Scottish politics will find the subject incomprehensible without considering...

From Calvin to Calvino

October 14, 2009
by Pat Kane

If you don’t know about Momus, aka Scottish musician, writer and con-ceptualist Nick Currie, then you need to know about him: for me, he’s one of the most challengingly brilliant Scottish minds of the last twenty years. On the trivial, arts-page level, his CV is impressive. Momus was an early star...

The View from Castle Rock

October 14, 2009
by Magnus Linklater

AS A CHAMPION of Scottish literacy, intellectual rigour, profound thinking and weighty criticism, Francis Jeffrey stands as a non pareil. His editorship of the Edin-burgh Review in the early nineteenth century, made it a model of what a literary journal should be, at a time of political and cultural...

Volume 5 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

October 14, 2009
by Theresa Munoz

Little Hut of Leaping Fishes Chiew-Siah Tei PICADOR, £7.99 pp320, ISBN 9780330454391 A graduate of Glasgow University’s creative writing programme, Chiew-Siah Tei has emerged with a debut novel that eschews tricksiness for tradition, and the gentleness of her prose may incline some to think she has...

Memento Mori

October 14, 2009
by Alan Taylor

WHEN IN THE MIDST of the Second World War Muriel Spark divorced her husband she did not revert to her family surname of Camberg. Instead, as she acknowledged in her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, she decided to retain her husband’s name. Her reason, initially, was so she could share the same name...

Ten Years Hence

October 14, 2009
by David Torrance

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM, particularly in a Scottish context, seems to produce quixotic aspirations. In 1885 the much-lobbied for post of Scottish Secretary was created amid expectations of a national revival; in 1999 a Scottish Parliament was created with widespread anticipation that it would become a...