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Volume 07 Issue 3 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 07 Issue 3

The SRB Interview: Alan Warner – Extended Version

August 10, 2011

Alan Warner has been at the forefront of his generation of Scottish novelists since his debut, Morvern Callar, served notice of his talent. Morvern Callar is narrated by its eponymous heroine, a young woman who deals with the suicide of her boyfriend in a memorable and unexpected fashion. The novel...

Volume 7 – Issue 3 – Editorial

August 11, 2011

Anyone who knows anything about the birth of public libraries is aware how difficult it was. As with so much of what we now take for granted, libraries are a gift from the Victorians, born of the recognition that self-improvement was the route to prosperity. The early public libraries were not places...


August 11, 2011
by Joseph Farrell

In Search of RLS in Samoa. The name of Robert Louis Stevenson is still revered and universally recognised in Samoa, as the visitor arriving on the island where RLS spent his final years will quickly discover. The driver on the shuttle bus from the airport took the opportunity to display his knowledge...

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

August 11, 2011
by Harry Reid

Helen Percy: spat out by the Kirk This is at once a terrible and a beautiful book. Terrible, because it describes, admittedly in an episodic and soft-focussed way, a shameful story that besmirches contemporary Scotland. Beautiful, because it is a testament to the resilience, poignantly and quietly...

Why Did They Go

August 11, 2011
by Tom Nairn

I did it to go out in a blaze of glory I did it to make them listen to my side of the story I only did it to get attention I did it to get an honourable mention I did it to put an end to it all I did it for no reason at all But I did it I did it I did it Yes I did.

Follow, Follow

August 11, 2011
by Adrian Searle

I spent the summer of 1989 at my parents’ home in Northern Ireland preparing to join the British Army. Although I was born and educated in Scotland, when I finished secondary school my father, a minister, was called to a large Presbyterian church in an overwhelmingly Protestant area known for being...

Trade Secrets

August 12, 2011
by Mandy Haggith

Many people like the idea of being a writer without ever putting pen to paper in earnest. Sometimes such people need to give themselves permission to write, particularly to write badly, at least, at first; only then do they become teachable. And creative writing can definitely be taught. Whether through...

An Orcadian’s Conversion

August 12, 2011
by Jonathan Wright

Why did George Mackay Brown become a Catholic? Religious conversion has always been a thorny theological issue. Christians have reached many different conclusions about how it should be secured: is coercion legitimate or is freely-given faith the only kind that counts? And then there’s sincerity:...

Coming Soon – The Apocalypse

August 12, 2011
by Colin Waters

When the world does end, no one will be able to accuse the movies of not doing their part to warn us. Perhaps like myself you enjoy spending your weekend evenings with a loved one, a tub of popcorn and the latest apocalypse warming the movie screen. Connoisseurs of catastrophe have of late been indulged...

Electric Essayist

August 12, 2011
by Brian Morton

The poet and translator Michael Hamburger insisted that even at the heart of our modernity there was a pastoral mode. The modernists’ city was mere phenotype; the ‘country’ – which was not defined with any exactness – remained the archetype. He noted that even in the ten-minute egg of proletarian...

What’s Left?

August 12, 2011
by Ian Bell

It ought to be straightforward. A person you knew intimately for decades is convicted of perjury. He confessed the truth to you and to others long ago; the verdict is no surprise. Some weird compulsion – many adjectives are available – drove an old friend to tell lie after suicidal lie. Poisonous...

Volume 7 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

August 12, 2011
by Theresa Munoz

DEAD SHARP: SCOTTISH CRIME WRITERS ON COUNTRY AND CRAFT Len Wanner TWO RAVENS PRESS, £11.99, 250PP ISBN 978-1906120580 Len Wanner’s interviewing skills are showcased in his collection of conversations with Scotland’s crime novelists. Ian Rankin is featured as well as interviews with other practitioners...

Volume 7 – Issue 3 – Classifieds

August 10, 2011

Fiction The Roost Neil Butler Thirsty Books £7.99 PB 9781906134778 Spectacular first fiction from young Shetland writer. Lucy Ellmann: ‘It’s wonderful.’ Singing I’m No A Billy He’s a Tim Des Dillon Luath Press £7.99 PB 978-1-908373-05-2 What happens when you lock up a Celtic fan and Rangers...