No Statues to Critics

August 10, 2016
by Joseph Farrell

The late Robert David MacDonald, director, playwright, translator and one of the trio who ran the Citizens’ Theatre in the days which have already receded into myth, liked to say that they do not erect statues to critics. And indeed they do not, but critics play their part in having statues erected...

Road to Somewhere

August 10, 2016
by Todd McEwen

Murdo MacArthur loses his mother and sister within a short space of time. He and his Dad lead an increasingly silent life. Dad, in his grief, seems to Murdo like one big No. Dad loses track of Murdo, even though they’re in the same house. Forgets to give him pocket money.

A Question of Trust

August 10, 2016
by Dani Garavelli

Though the blurb describes James Robertson’s To Be Continued as a madcap adventure, I turned over the first page with all the gaiety of a blobfish caught in a trawler’s net. Its main character, Douglas Findhorn Elder, is a middle-aged journalist in the grip of an existential crisis brought on by...

Sweet and Sour

August 10, 2016
by Rosemary Goring

Jon Sigurdsson, a senior civil servant in Whitehall, begins the day in which this long novel takes place, trying to save a fledgling blackbird. It is a summer’s morning, shortly before seven, and he is attempting to disentangle it from the netting in his ex-wife’s garden. Trying to keep the little...


August 9, 2016
by David Black

It seems metaphysically appropriate that Edinburgh, a city riven by an urban duality, should have had two singular and very different golden ages, as well as two distinct architectural personalities.


August 9, 2016
by Alan Taylor

Not so long ago, if the hype was to be believed, the book was doomed. Jeremiahs joyfully foretold of its imminent demise and imagined a paperless future in which trees could grow tall without fear of being hacked down, pulped and transformed into the Sun. Nor were book lovers any more sanguine. It...

SRB at the Theatre

March 21, 2016
by Joseph Farrell

IN this case, there are two faces, two attitudes to life, two plays, both one-act, one-woman pieces, written by Peter Arnott, featuring identical twins, Isobel and Morag, played by the one actor, Janette Foggo, staged in successive weeks at Oran Mor, but begging for some imaginative producer to bring...

Crowd Power

March 21, 2016
by Colin Waters

FEW things are likely to leave me feeling less festive than a festival. Which is unfortunate: I live in Edinburgh, home of the world’s largest annual arts festival. Each year, the same, but worse. Ticket prices that could bring tears to a sultan’s eyes; egos observable from outer space; unpromising...

Still ‘Yes’?

March 21, 2016
by Jamie Maxwell

IN case you hadn’t noticed, Scots are struggling to find consensus on the origins of modern Scottish nationalism. Supporters of independence see the roots of their movement as essentially civic: a political response to the alienating effects of Westminster ‘misrule’. Unionists, meanwhile, advance...

The Moor’s Last Sigh

March 21, 2016
by Michael Fry

THERE is a good argument for saying that the capture of Quebec in 1759, and the subsequent absorption of Canada into the British Empire, was owed first and foremost not to the English hero, James Wolfe, who fell in the moment of victory, but to one of his officers, Captain Donald MacDonald of Clanranald....