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Butcher's Broom

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Butcher's Broom is one of Gunn's epic recreations of a key period in Scottish history, the Highland clearances of the nineteenth century. Gunn captures the spirit of Highland culture, the sense of community and tradition, in a manner that speaks to our own time.

At the centre of the novel is Dark Mairi who embodies what is most vital and lasting in mankind, whose values enc
Paperback, Modern Scottish Classics, 432 pages
Published May 1st 1977 by Souvenir Press (first published 1934)
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Feb 01, 2014 Alesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a long, poetic and truly heartbreaking book about the Scottish Highland Clearances. There's no doubt about where the author's sympathies lie; the villains are really, really bad, and the good guys are, well, quite human.

I learned a lot by reading this book, both about the Clearances and about how novels have changed since the 1930's, which this was written. It is very long. The descriptive passages are beautiful, but wordy. You feel like you are suffering along with the Scots as things d
Margaret Pinard
May 05, 2015 Margaret Pinard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in 19th century crofters history in Scotland
Evocative would be the word, I think. Gunn treats the story of evicted crofters here with a very emotional and gut-wrenching, close lens. I think it was excellently done, weaving together drastically different viewpoints to highlight the tragedy and the inevitability of the change in society that resulted in many of the Clearances. Some beautiful prose in here, and some that I just let wash over me, like Lewis Grassic Gibbons', meaning it was a little too far from my experience to understand the ...more
Oct 12, 2013 Áine rated it it was amazing
A people and their history swept away in four parts and fifty years. Horo, Mhairi Dubh., 5 Jan 2014

This review is from: Butcher's Broom (Modern Scottish classics) (Kindle Edition)
"Ruscus aculeatus (butcher's broom) is a member
of the Liliaceae family. It has tough, green, erect, striated
stems that send out numerous short branches and
very rigid leaves that are actually extensions of the stem
and terminate in a single sharp spine."

Butcher's Broom, as an herb, appears in Gunn
Oct 13, 2012 Lily rated it really liked it
Set during the Highland Clearances when people were forced to leave their crofts and move out to the coast, replacing them with sheep to feed and clothe the populace. Sad and shameful times.
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Neil Gunn, one of Scotland's most prolific and distinguished novelists, wrote over a period that spanned the Recession, the political crises of the 1920's and 1930's, and the Second World War and its aftermath. Although nearly all his 20 novels are set in the Highlands of Scotland, he is not a regional author in the narrow sense of that description; his novels reflect a search for meaning in troub ...more
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