Ian Mapp's Reviews > And the Land Lay Still

And the Land Lay Still by James Robertson
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Jun 05, 11

bookshelves: lit-fict
Read in May, 2011

I'm sure that this will be my book of the year. Its huge, rambling and brilliantly combines the political with the personal.

I am watching Our Friend in the North on DVD and there are certain parallels with this book, although ATTLLS is all about modern Scottish History.

The book is framed by Michael Pendreich preparing an exhibition of his fathers work. The subjects of the photos provide the story.

We have some great characters. The Pendriech's themselves, Jean who opens her house for parties at night, an ex WWII POW who turns away from his family and becomes a tramp and my favorite.... the alcholic Civil Servant who shares his name with 007.

The structure of the book is tricky to keep up with but it is written in such a way that it works. The politics is never overbearing and relates to things that you can remember. The only criticism I would have of the book is that in the last 200 pages, recent political events were documented like an essay, rather than to the benefit of the book.

And i didn't mind the co-incidences at the end of the book where some of the characters mets up at the exhibition and knew of each other. Every time I go to Scotland on business, one of the locals meets someone in a lift who he went to school with.

In fact, that reminds me of when I was in Florida on business and two people at dinner were both from the west coast. After 30 minutes of sharing acquaintences with each other there was a thoughtful pause in the conversation. This was broken when one of them asked "Didn't I sleep with your sister?".

Scotland is just hat sort of place.

I will be finding out more of Robertson's books after this.

Book of the Year.
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