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Books of the Year 2018- A Literary Advent Calendar – Scottish Review of Books


Jessie Greengrass
John Murray, £14.99
by SRB

Books of the Year 2018- A Literary Advent Calendar

December 19, 2018 | by SRB


We’ve asked Scotland’s leading writers, booksellers, festival directors and critics to pick one, or two, books — published this year or in the past — that they most enjoyed reading in 2018. There will be new selections every day throughout December — so keep reading for great ideas about what to read next and visit your nearest high street bookshop to purchase your Christmas gifts! Today’s selection is from Laura Waddell. 

If up to me, Sight by Jessie Greengrass would have won all the big prizes this year. Our narrator is a woman pregnant with second child and excavating curiosity, who recalls her relationship with her own mother and grandmother, and turns her psyche this way and that, trying to understand its make-up. Along the way there are forays into the illuminations of medical history, such as the invention of the X-Ray. Layers of familial nesting dolls pop off as the book develops, intent on getting to something central and essential. It’s hard to read more than a few pages of Greengrass’ exquisite prose style without feeling a shiver; this is the real stuff. I read a lot of excellent books this year, but none quite like Sight. It’s a reminder of why we chase after books as critics or readers: for the few like this.
Laura Waddell participated in the Emerging Critics programme in 2016, returning as a mentor in 2018. Her criticism has since been published in the Times Literary Supplement, Kinfolk magazine and the Guardian, and she has joined the Saltire Society judging panel for the First Book of the Year award.

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