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2.95  ·  Rating details ·  60 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In a Victorian mansion hotel on a Scottish island, a group of English Literature lecturers and students from Glasgow gather for a study weekend, though studying is not exactly what some of them have in mind. And the weekend does prove to be a major turning point in the emotional lives of several people - just not quite in the way any of them expected. As entertaining as it ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 2007 by Sceptre (first published 2006)
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Jan 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like a thoughtful read
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The book has been hailed since its release by the critics and public alike. So, what went wrong?

The main action in the novel takes place in an old Victorian hotel on a Scottish island. A group of English Literature lecturers and students from Glasgow gather ostensibly for a study weekend but predictably that's not all that's on the agenda.

The novel has a relatively low-key beginning as some female students discuss the possibilities of the forthcoming we
Roderick Hart
Jan 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
There are many characters in this book, which wouldn’t matter if they were sufficiently well differentiated to remember – but they’re not, and this is particularly true of the women. The book’s title derives from one of those academic weekends we used to hear about where the main purpose seemed to be casual sex rather than the pursuit of learning. And all the lecturers are men - why is that, William?

The book has a thesis to the effect that although we are human we can’t escape from our animal na
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, scottish
This McIlvanney novel has none of the visceral authenticity of the Laidlaw books, though the novel is set in Edinburgh and the Western Isles there is very little use of the vernacular and essentially the novel purports to deal with a diverse group of English Literature students who travel from city to an old Victorian Hotel on an island for a study weekend. Among other texts lectures are delivered on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Oedipus trilogy by Sophocles. In the midst of attending lectures t ...more
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
The reader has to work a bit to follow the author because he doesn't name names. Several sections have only the he/she pronouns. Since there are many characters one can go a few pages not knowing whose thoughts one is hearing. There are even switches from one character to another occuring between paragraphs, with no name given. Maybe this was a young author's attempt at defining his own style. Yes, it is unique. And it detracts from the well crafted characters working through mostly mundane yout ...more
Daniel Woj
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm perplexed at all the negative reviews of this, I thought it was both a great piece of writing as well as really enjoyable. I liked the undercurrent of evolutionary science interspersed and granted the build up was much better than the pay-off, I would even read again. Different from his crime novels but good perspective into the early-20s female mind for a old male writer. It felt very current as well.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Ah. This is a difficult one to assess. So very, very good in parts - the writing, the insightful level of philosophising to be found in Laidlaw - and utterly - not incomprehensible - but of little interest to me in others. Which I accept is because I can be a lazy reader; I had a similar problem with A S Byatt's 'Possession. Confusing too at times to know who is who and eventually at times I regret I ceased to care.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
It says on the cover 'The finest Scottish writer of our time'if that were true Scottish writing would be in serious trouble. The story flicks from character to character and with no strong characters its very hard to tell who he's on about.If he wasnt a guest at the Harrogate crime writing festival i would not have bothered finishing it.
Geraldine O'Donnell
Although it has a few passages of exquisite McIlvanney prose, I wish he had not published this. It was difficult to follow and frankly , not worth the effort of reading. As a social commentary it is perhaps fairly accurate but truly, unworthy of his name.
Fraser Bridgeford
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
...the blurbs on the back indicated that it was supposed to be 'delightfully funny', 'hilarious' and 'witty', but could only make me smile...
David Fergusson
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Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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William McIlvanney was a Scottish writer of novels, short stories, and poetry. He was a champion of gritty yet poetic literature; his works Laidlaw, The Papers of Tony Veitch, and Walking Wounded are all known for their portrayal of Glasgow in the 1970s. He is regarded as "the father of 'Tartan Noir’" and has been described as "Scotland's Camus".

His first book, Remedy is None, was published in 196
More about William McIlvanney...

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