YOU can imagine a stage adaptation of Robin Jenkins's sublime 1955 novel turning out like Of Mice and Men. Set during the second world war on a remote Highland estate, it's about two brothers hired to gather pinecones for seed before the forest is felled. Like Steinbeck's Lennie, Callum is a child-like innocent with a love of nature who, arousing suspicion and ridicule, relies on the protection of a more worldly man – in this case, his brother Neil.
ON the surface, Neil M Gunn's 1941 novel, The Silver Darlings, is a humane family saga. Set in a fishing community on the north-east tip of Scotland, it is the story of Catrine and her pained relationship with a sea that takes her husband and threatens to take her son. But though it is a very human tale, lucidly written and rich in character detail, behind it all is the cold hand of economics.
By Lewis Grassic Gibbon/Alasdair Cording. HMT review.
STRAIGHT through the heart of his protagonist, Chris Guthrie, the author Lewis Grassic Gibbon drew the line between modernity and the past. At the radiant centre of his 1932 novel, Sunset Song, and its sequels Cloud Howe and Grey Granite, Chris represents a schism that would divide the nation. As the daughter of turn-of-the-century Aberdeenshire farmers, she is of the land, yet her education causes her to see her upbringing with the detachment of an outsider. As a teenager on the cusp of maturity, she is both child and woman, while the onset of motherhood represents the transition from freedom to responsibility.
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