Duck Feet by Ely Percy Book Review

I had the privilege of reading a proof copy of Duck Feet, and I was not disappointed. Duck Feet is a episodic novel, a coming of age novel, a working class novel, and a damn brave novel.

The story follows the life of Kirsty Campbell from the start of high school until she leaves in 6th year. Set in Renfrewshire, and told in the regional tongue, the reader is transported right to Kirsty’s doorstep. The short episodes delve into the trials and tribulations of working class teenage lives, with humour and frustration.

Me an Charlene wur in the school toilets at interval, doon daein a pee, an Charlene went intae a toilet where the plug hadnae been pult. Ay naw, she shoutet, Kirsty moan see this; she dragged me in behind her an pointet doon at this big jobby that some clat bag had abandoned, that wis noo bobbin up in doon the pan like a wee broon monkey.

Page 103

It’s the real mundanity of school life that make this book stand out and Ely has the gift of observation. They have highlighted issues such as ableism, racism, homophobia, bullying, teenage pregnancy and crime, and many more issues, but in a way that doesn’t seem forced They also highlight the little things that would have felt enormous for a teenager such as boy bands breaking up, periods, friendships, and first kisses.

Duck Feet is quite a long book, not one you’ll devour in one sitting, but it is a book that you can pick up and read between hoovering and making the dinner and I promise it’ll make you laugh. The book is quite heavy though, so lying on the couch for a read can be a bit of a work out, but thats one of the few things that I disliked.

The characters are fun, well fleshed out, and everyone had a Charlene in their life. It is a character driven novel, a delve into the ordinary where even the most irritating characters are lovable. Something shocking happens near to the end of the book, I thought it was arresting, well managed and probably the reason I’ll remember this novel for a long time.

Finally, from an Edinburgh lass, the dialect was a slow starter for me, not because it didn’t work or that it was badly written, it was just hard to get the voice in my head. But dialect is the reason that the character are so real, and it was brave to write the full novel in that way.

Over all, I loved it.

You can find out more about Duck Feet and where and when to buy it on http://www.elypercy.com.

My Year in Books 2020

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

This year has been such a mixed bag of reading. I’ve enjoyed straying a little from my usual go-to books, mostly for research reasons, but found a couple of gems. So here they are.

Fallow by Daniel Shand I really enjoyed this book and would also recommend his other novel, Crocodile.

The Growing Season by Helen Sedgwick It took me ages to read this book and throughout I wasn’t really sure if I liked it, but i think I was comparing it to Helen’s first novel, The Comet Seekers, which is an outstanding piece of work, and this book was a completely different genre, Overall though, it was worth a read, she’s an excellent writer.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher A strange wee book, beautifully written in parts, but not riveting. Worth a read.

Before You Say I DO by Clare Lydon This is a lesbian romance novel and was an okay read but predictable. I would try her other books but wouldn’t put them at the top of my list.

No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss Another Lesbian Romance but I quite liked this one. I‘ve heard of Harper Bliss and I would read more of her books but again, not in a hurry. Nicely written though.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng This was my book of the year. Beautifully written, brilliant twist and plot, fantastic characters and it made me cry. What else can you ask for. Read this book if you can, it is incredble.

Not My Type by Michele L. Rivera This was the last of the lesbian romances and I cringed all the way through it. Maybe I’m getting old, but this wasn’t for me.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls I stepped out of my comfort zone with this book and I’m glad I did. This was nice read and was wrapped up nicely. I would recommend.

Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey This is an important novel that everyone should be aware off. Heart breaking and honest. Memoir.

Marram by Leonie Charlton This is another book I really wanted to enjoy but found slow and dull. There are parts that are beautiful but also parts that seem repetitive. I enjoyed the back story. Memoir.

Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng Another beauty. I can’t wait for more books by this author. Very well written, exciting, fast paced and tragic. I watched the T.V series afterwards, the book is better.

The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis Another beautifully written book with plenty of tension and a lovely plot. Loved the characters, the setting was also well written, a bit disappointed with the end.

Boy Parts by Eliza Clark This is a book that’ll make you gasp. I loved it. It is risky, honest, funny and just brilliant. The characters will blow you away. Second best book of the year.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney I am pretty sure I enjoyed this book but I don’t remember much about it.

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn Informative. Non-fiction.

A Change of Climate by Hilary Mantel I have been wanting to read a book by Hilary Mantel for the longest time, but I think I chose the wrong one. The movement of time wasn’t easy to keep up with and at times, the book was slow. I almost gave up on it, but persisted. The first page is brilliant.

Dear Life: A Doctor’s Story by Rachel Clarke I loved this. I’ve never read a book with so much death in it, but written so honestly and beautifully. I definitely have a different perspective now. I cried a lot. Highly recommended. Memoir.

Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie I do like Jonathan Pie, although I don’t always agree with his point of view. And just like the man says himself, you don’t have to agree, but it’s good to see different perspectives. Recommend. Non-fiction. I listened to the audio book version.

Love In Lockdown by Chloe James I bought this book purely for research purposes as I am writing a lock down novel myself. Cheesy, heterosexual, young love. It was okay, mostly annoying, but fit the purpose of what I imagine will be a new pandemic genre, I just feel the author could have blended some of the pandemic tropes into the story, as opposed to listing them. It is unrealistic in many ways, but the characters are nice.

Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie It’s about time I read something from this author seeing as she was my dissertation mentor- twice. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Kathleen once told me that she isn’t a nature writer, she is simply a writer, I kept that in mind when I read this book and I now understand what she meant. Kathleen is an observer, a thinker, someone who stands still long enough to experience the world. She has a good mind and a viewpoint unlike most. I highly recommend. Essays.

I would love to here what your favourite books have been in 2020, and I love a recommendation, but for now, I would like to wish everyone a happy Hogmanay and warm wishes for the new year.

My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal – Book Review

‘…he misses the photograph of Jake and he has to close his eyes to remember it. He holds on to Big Red Bear and thinks about all the things he didn’t say to his mum. How long will it be for her to get better? When is she coming back for him? […] Will she come back? Where is she? Where is Jake?’ (My Name is Leon. p.78)

Kit_de_Waal_—_My_Name_Is_Leon

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, My Name is Leon (2016) by Kit De Waal is a heart tugging, sad yet hopeful book. Set in England the late 1970’s – early 1980’s, Leon and his baby brother Jake are living with single mother Carol.  Leon’s father is in prison and Jakes father is married and wants nothing to do with Carol or the child. Carol is terribly lonely and desperately unhappy. Struggling with deep depression, the mother’s fragile state leaves her  unable to care for her children :

Leon has begun to notice things what make his mum cry: when Jake makes a lot of noise; when she hasn’t got any money; when she comes back from the phone box; when Leon asks too many questions; and when she’s staring at Jake, (p.12).

After Carol takes to her bed, Leon, at just nine years old,  takes on the role of carer and parent. Through the eyes of this young boy, the reader watches his world fall apart, fragment by fragment.

Eventually the boys are taken into care and find solace in the home of Maureen, an experienced foster carer with a deep love for both cakes and children. Maureen is a lovable character who feels a deep affinity for Leon, even though Leon is highly suspicious of anyone in the care system, but when Jake is adopted, it is Maureen who picks up the pieces.  It is perhaps her honesty rather than her role as parent that soothes Leon in his most difficult times:

‘Now listen carefully because I want you to understand something and I don’t say this to all the children because it’s not always true but with you it’s true so you have to believe it. And when you believe it you will stop grinding your teeth […] You will be all right, Leon.’ (p.55-56).

But when Maureen is taken into hospital, Leon is left with Maureen’s sister Sylvia, a less motherly role model than Maureen but with a desire to please her sister none the less. Their relationship is strained and often uncomfortable, but soon enough Leon finds comfort in a new friend, Tufty. Tufty is a young man who looks after a plot in his father’s allotment. The man and the boy form a friendship that grows alongside the seeds that they plant in the garden, so when they both find themselves in the midst of the Birmingham riots, they naturally come together to save each other. 

This is a coming of age story unlike any other, it is not a happy ever after but hope for a child and his future. 

I love this novel, it is clearly written with believable characters and honest emotions. At the start of the novel I was concerned about the character’s point of view – a third person limited perspective from the child’s perspective – but it is cleverly done. While the reader gathers glimpses of emotions from inside Leon’s head, there is still enough distance to feel the tug of the story from the outside. It is as if the reader is holding the child’s hand and experiencing his life with him as it unfolds. Brilliantly done and brilliantly written. Go Leon. 

Goblin by Ever Dundas – Book Review

‘They merge. Those years before the war. The long summers, the running wild, playing cowboys and Indians, Martians and humans. I don’t remember when we first found the worksite, or when David told me his dreams of the sea, or when I became friends with the Crazy Pigeon Woman of Amen Court. They merge, and I jump forward and back. I must bring order.’ (Goblin, Ever Dundas, p.22)

20180228_144109.jpg

Winner of the Saltire Society first book of the year award 2017, Goblin, by Ever Dundas is a brilliant and brave first novel. Set in both London during WW2 and in Edinburgh in 2011, the story is told in flashback. For me, the first half of the novel is the best, we meet Goblin as a nine-year-old tomboy with a love for animals and a passion for storytelling – both of which the protagonist collects.

Goblin has a difficult family life; a mother who doesn’t want her, ‘Goblin-runt born blue. Nothing can kill you. […] You’re like a cockroach,’ (p.5) a father who mends radio’s and barely talks and a brother (David) who spends most of his time in his bedroom. Left to her own devices, the protagonist, her dog Devil, and her two friends Mac and Stevie roam the neighbourhood and hang around in an abandoned worksite. As a collector of stories, Goblin enthusiastically attends the local church with Mac, ‘I loved the stories, turning them over in my head, weaving my own.‘ (p.24)  before meeting The Crazy Pigeon Lady who tells her tales of Lizards people from the realm below. The childhood innocence in these chapters, mixed with magic realism, break down the walls of adult reasoning and creates a wonderful suspension of disbelief.

But without giving away the story plot, the suspension of disbelief serves another purpose; to divert the reader (as well as the adult protagonist) from the truth. So, while the adult Goblin searches amongst her tangled past, she takes the reader along for the ride. We meet multiple parents, live life on the road, come alive on the streets and in the circus, explore love, death, desire, and hate – and somewhere in the middle we meet an impressive collection of animals – Goblin has it all. And as far as strong female protagonists go, she’s right up there with Anais Hendricks from Jenni Fagan’s Panopticon, to Janie Ryan in Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, characters who are so real you might just walk by them on the street.
The only teeny tiny criticism about the novel is that the second half spans over a lengthy period of time and it felt a little rushed. However, there is so much to say about this novel, so many angles to discuss, from Queer Theory to Religion, from Myth to Realism, and as a graduate of English Literature I could have a field day studying this book but for now, as a lover of good books, I’ll give it a big thumbs up and a huge recommendation, it’ll be finding a space on my ‘keep’ book shelve.

Goblin, Ever Dundas (2017) published by Saraband

Dirt Road by James Kelman – Book Review

pexels-photo-164821.jpeg

Kelman’s novel Dirt Road is story that takes both characters and reader on a journey right from the outset, but the journey is more than it seems. The novel begins in the West coast of Scotland where we learn that Murdo – a sixteen-year-old boy – and his father Tom are mourning the death of their mother/wife and sister/daughter. Searching for solace, they embark on a journey to Alabama, U.S.A to spend time with Uncle John and Aunt Maureen. For Murdo, family is just a happy memory, a moment in time captured in a photograph, ‘The family was four and not just him and Dad’, whilst for Tom, family is the bond that holds them together.
Throughout their journey, Tom strives to guide his son and keep him on ‘the right path’, yet Murdo, as we will learn, has a path of his own to find.  Stifled by the fathers influence, the boy has a tendency to stray, thus when they reach Allentown Mississippi, Murdo stumbles upon a family of musicians led by Zydeco performer Queen Monzee-ay. Murdo is as drawn to music as his father is to family, the boy himself is an accomplished accordion player, and when he is offered an opportunity to play a set with Queen Monzee-ay in two weeks’ time, we watch as the road between father and son diverges and choice and risk becomes the key plot in the story.

While this may appear a simple story line, Kelman’s exploration into the fragmented relationship between father and son gives the reader an honest analysis of family and grief. The third person narrator, with bursts of free indirect discourse from Murdo, allows the reader both an internal and external insight into the constraints of family. This parallel leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable, yet with a conflicting heart. This is Kelman’s unique writing style at its best.  

Dirt Road is more than a novel of grief and family relationships though; it is a novel of risk, of following new paths with uncertainties, about leaving behind the familiarities and safety of the past and following the heart. It is about deep connections; for Murdo this is through music and the feeling of freedom that he associates with music, whilst for the other characters it is about cultural connections and Scottish ancestry. Kelman’s clever use of parallels shows the reader the intensity of human connections whilst suggesting that change and progression is possible. This great novel will linger in your thoughts for weeks after you put it down, and it brings to mind a poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Dirt Road by James Kelman

Canongate Books (14 July 2016)

Nasty Women Published by 404 Ink – Book Review

‘Sometimes the role model you need is not an example to aspire to, but someone who reflects back the parts of yourself that society deems fit.’
Becca Inglis

pexels-photo-862848.jpeg
Nasty Women, published by 404 ink, is a collection of essays about what it is, and how it feels to be a woman in the 21st century. When I first picked up the book, I assumed, like I think most readers would, that it would be an easy book to just pick up and put down whenever I had a spare ten minutes. Wrong, I was sucked into this book right from the beginning, and read it all in a day. That doesn’t mean it was an easy read, or perhaps easy is the wrong word – it isn’t a comfortable read – and it isn’t meant to be. Nasty women is hard-hitting, eye-opening, and unashamedly honest.

The book opens with ‘Independence Day’ by Katie Muriel.  A story of mixed race and identity in Trump’s America, Muriel discusses her experience of inter-family racism, heightened by political differences, ‘This is not the first, nor is it the last family divide Trump will leave in his wake, but I refuse to think of him as some deity who stands around shifting pieces on a board in his golden war room.’ The anger in this piece is clear, but it is the rationalism and clarity of the writer that speaks volumes. Race, racism and xenophobia, is a prominent feature in these stories. Claire L. Heuchan, for example, talks about ‘Othering’ a term that readers will see repeatedly in this book, ‘Scotland,’ she writes, ‘is a fairly isolating place to be a black woman.’

Survival is a key trope in Nasty Women. Mel Reeve, in ‘The Nastiness of Survival,’ talks about being a survivor of rape and emotional abuse, ‘I do not fit the ‘right’ definition of someone who has been raped.’ This statement alone is filled with irony.

I was particularly drawn to Laura Waddell’s essay, ‘Against Stereotypes: Working Class Girls and Working Class Art.’ Laura talks about the difficulty of both gender and class inequality, and, in particular, the lack of working class writers and working class fiction being published, ‘I have read a lot of fiction’ she says, ‘I have read almost none from housing estates such as the one I grew up on. These stories are missing, from shelves, and from the record.’ As a Scottish fiction writer from a working-class background myself, these words resonate deeply.

Alice Tarbuck’s ‘Foraging and Feminism: Hedge-Witchcraft in the 21st Century’, is almost fun to read in a deeply devastating way. There is a desperate tone in this piece, and a desperate need to escape society. ‘There is beauty and bounty around us if we look for it, and perhaps that is all the magic we need. Or perhaps, what we need is real magic, whether that comes in the form of resistance and community or the form of blackthorn charms and skullcap tinctures, and howling to the moon.

I loved this book. This book gives women a voice. And it is loud! Well done 404 Ink, and all the contributors, for bravely breaking the silence.

Book Review – Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson

adult blur books close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘Graffiti and scorch marks, echoes of small fires, decorated doorsteps. Golden Special Brew cans and crushed vodka bottles, bright as diamonds, collected in gutters. Front gardens were filled with mouldy paddling pools and, occasionally, a rust burnished shell of a car. I had never seen anything so beautiful, so many colours, before in grey Aberdeen.’


Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma

 

This is a novel with nothing held back. While the title is light hearted and the cover art bright and cheerful, both are deceiving. The cover shows a silhouette of a young girl holding a giant red balloon against the backdrop of a Scottish suburban town. It is important to address the significance of this image. Readers may recall a similar painting by Banksy, named Girl With Balloon which was originally painted on a wall in London. Beside the painting was engraved “There Is Always Hope”. While Banksy’s painting shows the girl releasing the balloon, possibly representing lost hope or lost innocence,  Hudson’s cover shows the girl being lifted by the balloon.  Considering this when addressing the text, it is clear that Hudson wished to demonstrate that one can only hold on to hope by not letting go. Critics have described this book as containing bittersweet humour and Hudson cleverly intrudes in the second chapter by saying that this is in fact a ‘humorous cautionary tale’.   As soon as you begin reading, expect to get dirt under your nails. The author launches right into the location of the novel using regional Scottish dialect and local Aberdonian vernacular.  The story begins with the birth of out protagonist, Janie Ryan. Born to Iris (formally Irene), a single, homeless mother who comes from a line of women described as ‘fishwives to the marrow’, Iris has recently returned from London after trying to change her destiny (not wanting to become her mother). After falling pregnant to a rich and married American man, the relationship breaks down. Iris is forced to return to poverty in the back streets of Aberdeen but is keen to ensure that things have changed,’ I didnae go all the way to fuckin’ London to come back an’ be the same old Irene!’ Unfortunately, Iris falls back into her old ways and for Janie; this has a direct effect on her life. The reader follows the protagonist from her first home to temporary care and then to a string of homes over the UK in some of its poorest areas. Janie watches, as her mother gets involved in some abusive relationships, including one with alcohol, and watches helplessly as her mother loses hope.  Towards the latter end of the novel, it is clear that Janie is falling into the same habits as her mother, however, a string of unfortunate event forces her to reassess her life. The end of the novel, like the cover art, is left to the reader’s interpretation. Can Janie break the cycle and make changes to her life, or is she destined to become her mother? This is not only a well-written novel but also a powerful commentary on life within the poverty trap.

Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, 2012 published by Vintage Books

©Eilidh G Clark

 

Book Review – A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

adult blur books close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘…there’s no other way to give you the truth except to hide it in a story and let you find your own way inside.’

Kirsty Logan’s first collection of short stories, Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, The:, published by Salt in 2014, won the Polari First Book Prize in 2015.A Portable Shelter is her second collection. Set in a small cottage in the rural north coast of Scotland, Ruth and Liska are expecting their first child. The couple believe that their unborn baby will have a better chance of survival away from the harshness of suburban life. They make a pact with one another, that they will only ever tell their child the truth. Yet while Liska is asleep or Ruth is at work, each whispers secret stories to their unborn child. Delving into fantastical tales about people from their past and re-telling stories that span from generation to generation, the couple unfold the horrors of the real world. Whilst these tales, laced in myth and legend, and fattened with the magic of the imagination, demonstrate the art of oral storytelling, Logan reaches further to show the reader why storytelling is important.

While this book is primarily a collection of short stories, its novel like structure frames each story with a preceding monologue from either Ruth or Liska. The monologues offer delightful morsels of description that bring the harshness of Mother Nature into the safety of the couple’s bedroom, “right now our home is speaking to you. The walls creak their approval in the wind. The rain applauds on the roof. The lighthouse beam swoops, swoops, swoops. The tide breathes loud and slow like a giant. If you listen carefully, perhaps you can even hear the moon hum.”  The pace of these sentences, combined with the delicacy of language demonstrates Logan’s skill at describing the sublime spirit of the natural world, which brings the narrative to life.

Most impressive though, is Logan’s poetic language and carefully crafted sentences which create the most beautiful imagery. In ‘Flinch,’ for example – James is a fisherman struggling with his identity, yet his affiliation with the land is locked into his first-person point of view where the reader gets to closely experience what he sees, “The sky is pinkish-grey like the insides of shells. Speckled bonxies wheel overhead. Seals loll on the rocks, fat as kings. The rising mist is cool and milky.” Any of these lines could easily be arranged into a poem and with sentences that are squeezed tight; they create a wonderful poetic rhythm. Logan uses this technique throughout her novel, demonstrating the precision and craft in her work. There are definite similarities in her writing style to fellow Scottish novelist and poet Jenni Fagan. Both authors use rich language, which is well crafted and smattered with vernacular. Furthermore, combining this with the reoccurring theme of identity, the oral storytelling tradition, landscape, folklore, and myth, it is clear to see why these authors contribute to the growing canon in Scottish literature.  

This is a book that I will read over and over again because I know that in each  reading, I will find something new. A Portable Shelter, I feel, deserves a place on my ‘keep’ book shelf.

A Portable Shelter, Kirsty Logan, London: Vintage, 2015

©Eilidh G Clark

 

   

Book Review – Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

adult blur books close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘What are you meant to do when a humongous cloud is coming toward you on a sheer mountain drop? He lifts his phone and there are no bars, he can’t even google it. Two eagles spiral out of the cloud, calling to each other, and one has something small gripped in it’s claws. They coast on the wind – each wingspan must be about three feet – and they appear almost still.’

The Sunlight Pilgrims  by Jenni Fagan, was published by Windmill Books in 2015 and for me, was a much-anticipated novel. After reading her debut novel, The Panopticon, my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. This is a pre-apocalyptic novel set in a fictional Scottish town of Clachan Fells in the not too distant future of 2020. The novel explores the lives of a community of eccentric individuals living in close the proximity of a caravan park. As the temperatures plunge into extreme minuses, the residents are faced with a bleak and uncertain future, not only of their own survival, but also the survival of the human race.

The most interesting thing about this novel is that on the surface, nothing really happens, yet it would be wise to look deeper. Amongst the daily challenges of individual lives, there lurks a thought provoking tale of identity, community, and environment.

The novel is written from the perspective of two of its main characters Stella – a transgender teenager and Dylan a Londoner who recently moves to Clachan Fells. The most interesting thing about these two characters is the perspectives that each individual has about place.  For Stella, her world is a difficult place full of prejudice and rejection, even from her own father. Whilst her own personal identity is unquestionable, the community rejects her choices. This point of view provokes the reader to question the nature of identity, a topic often argued when discussing Scotland. From Stella’s point of view, her own identity is progressive, changing, developing while the society around her static. Alistair’s point of view however, allows the reader a modern and open approach. Described in the prologue as the Incomer (notice the capitalization) directs the reader towards Margaret Elphinstone’s novel The Incomer or Clachanpluck (Twentieth Century Scottish Womens Fiction), published in 1987. Elphinstone’s novel is a post-apocalyptic tale and, like Fagan’s, novel examines the question of identity. Thomas Christie suggests in Notional Identities: Ideology, Genre and National Identity in Popular Scottish Fiction Since the Seventies, that Elphinstone is ‘depicting the country’s ability to adapt to extreme change­ ̶ carving a form of localism from the bones of globalisation ̶ she recognises its progressive aptitude to embrace forces of social transformation while retaining recognisable core cultural imperatives.’ It is no coincidence that Fagan has subtly steered the reader to this novel; identity is clearly a topic that the author is keen to explore. Dylan is a progressive character in Fagan’s novel. Discovering Stella identity very early in the novel, the character never questions her choices or that of Mother who has two partners. Likewise, this progressive thinking expands to the other residents of the caravan park, which houses a prostitute, an alien worshipper, and a disabled man with a crooked back who worships the sky. Not only does Dylan accept people for who they are; his deep connection to the environment makes him instinctive as opposed to the more rational thinkers of the world.

Unlike many modern writers, Fagan raises more questions about society and identity than she answers. This is an interesting technique as it leaves the reader to question the novel as opposed to question to authors own political and societal views. That said there is no doubt that this is a Scottish novel. The story is steeped in Scottish mythical symbolism such as the blackbird that lands on a fence post with his eyes reflecting a vast mountain range, to the eagles and stag’s on the mountains. In addition, the characters take on mythical persona’s including a giant, a girl with second sight, and a moon polisher. With oral tales of Sunlight Pilgrims highlighting the Scottish oral storytelling tradition, and a poetic sentence structure done in true Fagan style this novel feels truly Scottish.

I would highly recommend this postmodern novel, which urges the reader to look beyond society and address the problems of ego and the rational mind in order to create a progressive unified world where outsiders are welcomed as incomers – a prevalent issue in today’s society.

I originally published this post in The Scots independent newspaper.

©Eilidh G Clark