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Volume 04 Issue 4 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 04 Issue 4

Volume 4 – Issue 4 – Editorial

October 15, 2009

As the year ends, we find ourselves reflecting upon how 2008 will be remembered. The financial black hole which almost sucked in the global banking system and everything else with it – and who knows, may still do so – will undoubtedly be remembered as a defining moment, as will the historical election...

A Case of Knives

October 15, 2009

I DON’T RECALL WHEN we realised we weren’t going to get away with it, whether it was the same afternoon the windows were smashed or the next day, when school resumed. Although we never gave it as our defence, we were bored. Boredom suffered alone is, naturally, boring; in a group, boredom becomes...

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...

Poe Pourri

October 15, 2009
by Brian Morton

AMERICA BIRTHED HIM, and then failed to nurture; France was first to recognise and declare his genius; England legitimately claims a part in his growth; but Scotland, too, had a hand in the shaping of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s worth teasing out these strands a little. One forgets how early Poe comes in...

SRB Diary: Muse to the Makars

October 15, 2009
by Stanley Rodger Green

STELLA Cartwright and I formed a kind of platonic friendship. We had met in Paddy’s Bar, introduced by Bill Scott the sculptor. She at once asked me if I’d read Crime and Punishment and when I shook my head and admitted I could hardly spell the author’s name, I was peremptorily told to repair...

New Poems – Brian McCabe

October 15, 2009
by Brian McCabe

1: Counters Tiddliewinked into the inkwell, – that thimble of pale enamel like an egg’s shell, nesting in an ancient wooden eye – they were the counters and we counted them: one two, three – but who was this crosslegged abstraction – 4? We added them into a column which leaned towards infinity...

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...

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...

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...

The SRB Interview: Michael Faber

October 15, 2009

MICHEL FABER WAS BORN in 1960 in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1967, he moved with his family to Australia, where he later studied, amongst other subjects, philosophy and English. After graduating in 1980, he held a number of casual jobs before training to become a nurse. In the mid-nineties he moved...

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...


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...

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’...