Melanie Garrett's Reviews > Naming the Bones

Naming the Bones by Louise Welsh
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Feb 26, 2011

really liked it
Read from February 26 to March 06, 2011

From the back cover, this novel seemed a bespoke fit to my own preoccupations. The story moves initially between Glasgow and Edinburgh, two cities I spent the better part of twenty years toing-and-froing between. Then, as things gain speed, it moves to a remote Scottish island. The main character is an academic, at Glasgow Uni, who is overly involved with his subject - the life and work of a dead poet. As a postgrad at Glasgow uni I spent several years walking in much the same footsteps as Murray, albeit with far less havoc unraveling around me.

The core strand of the book, which is played out with great philosophical and, crucially, narrative success, is the question of whether or not our understanding of a writer's work is enhanced by knowing more about his life. It's a question I find endlessly fascinating, and never have I seen it developed so astutely in fiction.

There's so much to admire and enjoy here, that I was quite surprised I'd not heard more about this book until now. It confirms everything her earlier novels promised would be the case. Louise Welsh consistently delivers intelligent, challenging, and ultimately highly satisfying work. More please, Louise!
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