Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sunset Song (A Scots Quair, #1)” as Want to Read:
Sunset Song (A Scots Quair, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sunset Song

(A Scots Quair #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,929 ratings  ·  217 reviews
Divided between her love of the land and the harshness of farming life, young Chris Guthrie finally decides to stay in the rural community of her childhood. Yet World War I and the changes that follow make her a widow and mock the efforts of her youth.
Paperback, Canongate Classics, 272 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Canongate Books (first published 1932)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,929 ratings  ·  217 reviews

Sort order
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Vicky
Voted "Best Scottish Book of All Time" by "the public" in 2005

Look here:

The lines are gorgeous. When you listen to this you are there in the Scottish Highlands. When? At the beginning of the 20th century. Writing can be all about creating the atmosphere of a particular time and place.

I am listening to the audiobook narrated by Eileen McCallum. You have to pay attention. Understanding the Scottish dialect is difficult, but worth it. I don't understand all
MJ Nicholls
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Attention Novelists!

Test 1

Have you written a dreary middlebrow novel set in a part of India, the Orient, or a sundrenched third-world nation? Is your novel about postcolonial struggles and skirmishes faced by impoverished nations during a specific period in history? Does your novel dwell upon the emotional turmoil at the root of a persecuted community, and does it focus on a stoic native whose trials are shown at their most heartbreaking and humourless? Well done! Your novel will be popular with
Set in the rural community of Kinraddie Scotland in the years before and during the Great War. It's a moving and heartfelt account of the changes wrought in the close knit community. The story unfolds through the eyes of Chris Guthrie, her affinity to the land and to a way of life that will never be seen again. Chris is a wonderful character, she is strong and resilient like the land she loves.

This wonderful novel is evocative of time and place, and is rich in characterisation. All of the charac
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Overbylass

REVISIT VIA BBC: Listen here

Description: Divided between her love of the land and the harshness of farming life, young Chris Guthrie finally decides to stay in the rural community of her childhood. Yet World War I and the changes that follow make her a widow and mock the efforts of her youth.

Episode 1/2 (1 hour): Chris is torn between the love of the land and her ambition to be a teacher.

Episode 2/2: After her father's death, Chris is determined to work the farm, alone if needs be.

watch a dram
Auntie Terror
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
If you've ever even been to Scotland and seen this lost world in the desolate ruins of farm steads, this book will make your heart ache ever so much. [Prtf]
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who enjoy Scots words
This book was included in the 100 Best Scottish Books (Willy Maley and the Scottish Book Trust and others in 2005), and according to the Wikipedia article on it is widely regarded as one of the most important Scottish novels of the 20th century, if not the most important. Having just completed it I'm all in agreement. It is lyrical and moving, it is old fashioned and modern at the same time, it does blend melodrama and realism, and it does show the best of Scotland in Chris Guthrie.

The orthogra
Jester Gilchrist
Jan 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was forced to read this book when I was in 5th year at school in Scotland. I despised it. I have no idea why students are given this to study. This is a dull dull book. Fields, farming, more fields, some stepping stones, Long Rob, Chris Guthrie, sighing, pondering, her rosy cheeked bloody face on the cover. Her grunting father wanking outside her door. Christ on a bike... I think at the very least you need grey pubic hair to enjoy this.
A Scottish lament...

This first volume of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's trilogy, A Scots Quair, focuses on the life of Chris Guthrie, daughter of a tenant farmer in the fictional estate of Kinraddie in the north-east of Scotland, before and during the First World War. Sunset Song, written in 1932, is generally considered the strongest book in the trilogy and one of the greatest Scottish novels of the twentieth century. Although it's written in a form of the dialect of the area, it's been pretty heavily
Jun 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books I've read this year thus far (June 2018). A story quickening, mad, disturbing, and beautiful, and a prose striking and melodic - 'Sunset Song' dwells on some of my favorite subjects in literature: tyrannical parents, covetous and bewildering small communities, coming into maturity, the dying of old ways, the passing of generations, wicked thoughts and terrible acts, and that great breaking between two people, tied by family, who simply cannot see each other as worthy of lov ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Wanda, Kim
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
What to say about this magnificent book? This is the first boot of the trilogy A Scots Quair.

According to George Malcom Thomson, to whom the book is dedicated, wrote that "this Chris of yours is surely the greatest woman character in Scottish fiction...She is intensely Scottish and yet universal".

I just found these little gems:

Sunset Song (BBC 1971) Clips 1, 2, 3 and 4.

This book was a kind gift by dear friend A aka B.
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, uni
Every time I read Sunset Song, I begin to ache. I long for the land, the earth and the glorious Scottish sunlight. I long to lie amongst standing stones and feel unchangeable and everlasting for just a moment. Unfortunately, Scotland is in reality too wet and cold to do any of this- hence the aching and the longing.

Chris Guthrie has been called the voice of Scotland, but I would simple call her the voice of youth. Grassic Gibbon's narration gets stuck in your head, and you can't get rid of it fo
Dec 13, 2015 marked it as to-read
I've just ugly-cried my way through the new film of this, so I guess I really ought to read it.
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book (and the remaining 2 in the trilogy 'A Scot's Quair') is regarded as a classic of Scottish literature, so I was expecting something good and I really wasn't disappointed.

The story has the feel of an epic and is set in the early 1900's on a tough windswept farm near Aberdeen. The central character, Chris Guthrie, is a young girl who is destined for more, due to her intelligence, nurtured at school but those assets disregarded by most of the local community due to their dedication in wo
Gary Bonn
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere I read someone saying 'All Scottish children should read this book'*. Really ... children? There's an awful lot of real life ... but maybe that's the point. I would suggest not reading it until you are at least 16 - then, wow, this is for you. This is the launch of a life.
It is also for anyone deep in a creative writing course (university or otherwise) as the writing style and use of narrative tools will fuel your rebellion.
There are so many rules about writing fiction now - there wer
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, why was this book wasted on me in secondary school? I despised it then, but after a bit of growing up can see that it's a beautiful, essential book. The writing, characters and emotions are all powerfully real, hard to believe the author was only in his early thirties. And the sense of a bygone Scotland, recreated in your imagination as you read, is palpable.
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a hidden gem of the twentieth century. Voted the best book of Scottish Literature, it certainly lives up to its unknown fame. Lyrical and moving, this novel tells of young woman's life as it is torn apart by the coming of womanhood, modernity, and, ultimately, the Great War.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Sunset Song is the story of Chris Guthrie, a strong, independent woman who is trying to find her own way through her earlier years. Her story is a gritty one as well as poignant and inspiring. In fact, it’s difficult to believe how well a male author such as Lewis Grassic Gibbon has been able to write such a brilliant figure.

Not only is Chris just written really well, the dominating male characters and their relationships with her are also well depicted. It’s not just one or two mere examples, b
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Escocia, patria querida.

Reconozco que ha sido un libro difícil de leer por todo el vocabulario que comprende el dialecto escocés (y rural), pero una cosa no quita la otra: es una historia bellísimamente contada, prueba de ello son las decenas de páginas señaladas, de esa forma sencilla y entretenida que tienen los escoceses para contar las historias, con una musicalidad en las expresiones que traspasaba el papel.

Estilismos aparte, la vida de Chris Guthrie y de Kinraddie muestra una cara de
Stephen McQuiggan
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Kinraddie the way of life is tough but fair. Chris Guthrie is torn between her love of the land and her love of books. When her tyrannical father dies she is free to marry, but then the War comes and rips the still beating heart from all she's ever known. A disturbing novel of hypocrisy, sexuality and redemption. Beautiful and heartrending in equal measure. a novel with soul; you can propagandize and still make Art.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn’t my typical genre choice but my Scottish friend insisted I listen to it on Audible for the full Scottish experience (it’s read by a Scot).

It’s a good book and the most famous Scottish classic, beautifully written and beautifully read. Listeners that are not use to a strong Scottish accent will likely find it challenging to understand. I managed to listen at 2x - 2.5x speed with no problem (thanks to having lots of Scottish friends).
This book was AMAZING and is being added to my all-time favorites list.

My wife and I are heading back to Scotland this year and I wanted to read something Scottish so I went to the 'ol Google, searched for “best Scottish novels”, and chose Sunset Song off the list. Win! I downloaded the audiobook and off I went.

Sunset Song was published in 1932, and the primary storyline takes place in the years 1911 to 1919. It is set almost entirely in a very small, fictional Scottish town called Kinraddie,
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
"Sunset Song" is a story of changing times, of death and awakening. It is written in Scottish dialect which gives it many unusual, in fact, unheard of words, but this didn't hurt it for me. You could always get the gist of the meaning and it provided a poetic and atmospheric element. The writing style is actually quite lovely in my opinion. The book is dense – very little dialogue – with long paragraphs and often very long sentences. This didn't bother me, either, except that it took me longer t ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, classic, war
Tough book to review. So much I could say, but I don't want to blither. The language in this book is gorgeous. For someone like myself, so far removed from this story in both time and place, it's a revelation. (I could read and re-read the glossary alone, just for the fun of it.)Loved it.

Clamjamfried = choked, caked, plstered

Dish-clout = dishcloth, ineffectual man

Fusionless = lacklustre, tired, insipid, feeble

Gawpus = idiot

Gleg-vexed = bothered by insects

Jookery-packery = inappropriate behaviour
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you need to, skip the first chapter about the town's history the first time you read this. After that, be prepared to let an achingly rich sense of a people and a land seep into your bones. I think reading this book changed my genealogy.
Anna Mazzola
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Deeply moving and uniquely and beautifully written.
Julia Templeman
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it eventually but struggled with the style of writing. Took a while to warm to Chris and couldn't remember all the characters! Probably won't read rest of trilogy.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Och aye it's a well-hantled tale - 3.5 stars.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The reason I read this book was because I once asked my Mum what her favourite book was. As a woman growing up and living in Scotland with a degree in Scottish literature, I suppose I couldn't be surprised at this response. I wanted to read it one day - I gave her a miniature version of this book attached to a necklace, that was the purpose. It wasn't until last year that she passed away and
I used books to come closer to her. I read so many of the ones on her kindle or in the at home library.
Jim Leckband
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lyrical novel set in WWI-era rural Scotland. Gibbon's novel lushly describes the fictional village of Kinraddie and is mainly concerned with Chris Guthrie, a smart, young woman who yearns to be independent but is trapped (in a way) to the town. She is constrained by circumstances, but she is also constrained by the fact that she feels she is part of the land, so it is not a loss in her eyes.

Gibbon is concerned about the crash of Scottish rural life by the oncoming bus of modernity. This is one
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Forgotten Classic...: 3/18 Sunset Song 17 12 Apr 02, 2018 02:27PM  
Read Scotland 2015 : Dramatization of Sunset Song 2 9 Jan 27, 2015 08:49PM  
  • Maurice Guest
  • Docherty
  • Joseph Knight
  • The House with the Green Shutters
  • Greenvoe
  • The Weather in the Streets
  • The Cone Gatherers
  • Calum's Road
  • Consider the Lilies
  • The Silver Darlings
  • Love for Lydia
  • The Cruel Sea
  • Electric Brae
  • The Stornoway Way
  • A World of Love
  • Buddha Da
  • Dustbin Baby
  • Escape From Warsaw

Other books in the series

A Scots Quair (3 books)
  • Cloud Howe
  • Grey Granite
“So that was Chris and her reading and schooling, two Chrisses there were that fought for her heart and tormented her. You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day; and the next you'd waken with the peewits crying across the hills, deep and deep, crying in the heart of you and the smell of the earth in your face, almost you'd cry for that, the beauty of it and the sweetness of the Scottish land and skies.” 20 likes
“So it was that she knew she liked him, loved him as they said in the soppy English books, you were shamed and a fool to say that in Scotland.” 5 likes
More quotes…