Volume 04 Issue 3

Volume 4 – Issue 3 – Editorial

October 19, 2009

THIS EDITION OF The Scottish Review of Books takes its lead from First Minister, Alex Salmond, who is eager that we engage in a national conversation. Not content, however, simply to talk to ourselves we have engaged in a dialogue with our Irish cousins. For facilitating this we are grateful to the...

Hammer of the Scots

October 19, 2009

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...

The SRB Interview: Edna and Michael Longley

October 19, 2009

PROFESSOR EDNA LONGLEY has had a powerful influence on the literary culture of Northern Ireland though her teaching at Queen’s University, and through the English Society she ran, which in part led to the creation of The Seamus Heaney Centre. She was born in Dublin in 1940, and educated at Trinity...

Reading the Ruins: How Ireland is Losing its Memory

October 19, 2009
by Hugo Hamilton

THE IRISH LANDSCAPE is losing its memory. It no longer has the ability to recall the past. Like an old man in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, it has gone into a profoundly disoriented state, unable to find its way back, hardly even conscious of its own place in the world. Bewildered. Illogical....

Six Poems, Six Poets

October 19, 2009

When the City Winds Down by Alan Gillis I In the morning we wake and board the bus packed like a waiting room for a passport or injection, then pass into our grave and buckled grid of concrete and bustled compartmentalisation and feel the eyes of silent police within the workplace, the long arms of...

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...

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...

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...

SRB Diary: Home Alone: A Malayan Writer in Glasgow

October 19, 2009
by Chiew-Siah Tei

AT MY EVENT in London’s Asia House, a childhood friend, now a Londoner, brought with her a detailed map of Malaysia, spreading it out at every opportunity, running her fingers on roads and railways, tracing them all the way to my – our – hometown. Malaysia? You mean Singapore? some asked. My friend...

A Life of Loose Ends

October 19, 2009
by Rodge Glass

I FINISHED MY BIOGRAPHY of Alasdair Gray on January 1st. The last page was a relief to complete, and in it I quoted the final words of Gray’s Book Of Prefaces: “It is done”, I wrote, giddy with exhaustion. “Ended. Finished. Complete. Thank goodness, for I think goodness is god’s kindest...

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...

Peace Work

October 19, 2009
by John D Brewer

EVERY WAR IS the defining moment in the history of those who fought them, the instant when everything changed. But if their war was the one to end all wars, peacemakers undergoing the same life-changing transition tend to universalize their peace process as the one that promotes all others. Both end...

A Critics’ Orgy

October 19, 2009
by Patrick Crotty

The first of the three volumes of The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, EUP’s magisterial survey of Scottish writing, uses as the opening part of its title the name of a sixth century Irish saint who wrote poems about the pain of exile from his native Derry; the title of the third refers...