Archive for the Literature Category

A Man’s Game

A Man’s Game

In Scotland, we write books with big moral purposes: Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Jekyll and Hyde, The House with the Green Shutters.  Edinburgh-based writer, Alan Ness, has pulled off an unusual literary coup. His first novel, A Man’s Game, succeeds in addressing huge ethical issues but […]

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Can you feed their hunger?

Can you feed their hunger?

One of the joys of being semi-retired is the time for other activities. Since retiring I have helped co-ordinate the annual book festival in our town. One task delegated to me as a former English teacher was organising the festival’s Young Writers’ Competition. After a first sift of the […]

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Witness of our damaged souls

Witness of our damaged souls

Glen Lyon Kenneth Steven Birlinn, £7.99 The first novel by poet, translator, short story writer and children’s author, Kenneth Steven opens ambiguously.   Somerled Stewart arrives in an isolated Highland glen, fashions a primitive shelter, and ultimately a farm, with an axe, his one possession.   No land-owner seems to […]

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After Flodden – by Rosemary Goring: review

After Flodden – by Rosemary Goring: review

FEW events have had such a debilitating impact on Scotland as Flodden. The debacle in 1513 reversed the process started by Bannockburn and may, along with the Reformation, have made the Unions, of 1603 and 1707, inevitable. Four centuries later, a novel based on that military catastrophe […]

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Mitch Albom: The Time Keeper – a review

Mitch Albom: The Time Keeper – a review

I came across Mitch Albom’s novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven some six years ago.  It was the first novel which I had picked up and read in one sitting for a long time.  That was a credit to the moral premises at its heart: […]

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Alexander McCall Smith: Trains and Lovers

Alexander McCall Smith: Trains and Lovers

Alexander McCall Smith, famous for Mma Ramotswe, 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie, introduced his new novel, Trains and Lovers (Polygon, RPP £9.99) at the Linlithgow Book Festival.  There is an enormously warm and engaging aspect to Sandy McCall Smith and his audience at Linlithgow hung on […]

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Miss Havisham’s Expectations

Miss Havisham’s Expectations

Two hundred years after his birth, the reputation of Charles Dickens as a novelist remains unchallenged.  He was seen as a literary colossus in Victorian Britain and remains viewed as one of the greatest of writers in the English language. Dickens the writer remains, properly, in high […]

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Testament of a Witch by Douglas Watt

Testament of a Witch by Douglas Watt

With Testament of a Witch, Linlithgow-based author, Douglas Watt, has completed the second of his 17th century crime novels.  Investigating Advocate John MacKenzie and his young assistant, Davie Scougall, are caught, in 1687, in one of the 17th century’s frenzied witch hunts. The opening chapter is an […]

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Death of a Chief by Douglas Watt: review

Douglas Watt lives in Linlithgow with his wife Julie and their three children. He is the author of The Price of Scotland: Darien, Union and the Wealth of Nations“, a history of the Darien Disaster and Parliamentary Union between Scotland and England as well as a published […]

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In My Own Time

Alex Wood, former head, now working at the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration Books My recent reading has been a familiarisation with the work of James Robertson. I started with the ambitious And the Land Lay Still (which effectively spanned my lifetime), before reading The […]

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