Books

Books

The Write Stuff: Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes

Welcome to our regular feature showcasing the talents of the nation’s best writers. This week, an extract from Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes

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The Devil Take the Hindmost. Picture: Contributed

Book review: The Devil Take the Hindmost by Martin Cathcart Froden

Here’s a well-crafted tale of corruption and velodrome racing – once you suspend your disbelief

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Author Donald Ray Pollock. Picture: Kevin Mears

Book review: The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

Three brothers’ journey of violence and mayhem is delivered with both humour and brutal honesty in Donald Ray Pollock’s historical novel

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Poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, holds up the inspiration for her poem Meters. Picture: Contributed

Carol Ann Duffy unveils tribute to ‘whirring’ electricity meters

She has already penned poems in honour of the last British soldiers to fight in the First World War, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the MPs expenses scandal and an injury suffered by David Beckham.

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Shappi Khorsandi PIC: Debra Hurford Brown for The Scotsman

Interview: Shappi Khorsandi

UK-Iranian comedienne and writer Shappi Khorsandi had no problem getting into the mind of a 17-year-old for her new book Nina Is Not OK. It was thinking like the grown-ups that gave the 43-year-old trouble.

“I was really touched that one blogger knocked a star off her five-star review because she said the voice of a teenager was too true,” she says. “I feel very connected to my own youth and childhood and hang out a lot with young people. I worried more about writing the adults, because being an adult is the thing I’ve struggled with most. I’ve been locked in a state of arrested development for most of my life. And I’m still working on it now.”

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Erri De Luca (Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP /Getty Images)

Book review: The Day Before Happiness, by Erri De Luca

Towards the end of this economically expressed yet vividly imagined coming-of-age story, the nameless narrator, an orphan, realises that of all the gifts his friend and mentor Don Gaetano has given him, perhaps the greatest is a sense of belonging.

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Artist Jonathan Owen with his re-carved 19th century sculpture. Picture: Toby Williams

Artist brings new vision to Burns Monument with female statue

THE temple-like building has been one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks for almost two centuries – but for most of its life has been closed to the public.

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The Seasons of Cullen Church by Bernard O'Donoghue

Book review: The Seasons of Cullen Church, by Bernard O’Donoghue

There’s something almost apologetic about “As if the Hare”, the third-last poem in this latest collection from Whitbread-winner Bernard O’Donoghue. “But if I always seem to be returning,” he writes, “to those few fields, few years of long ago / as if there’d been nothing in the interim, / this only happened yesterday.” It’s a twinkly, tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that, yes, after decades of teaching at Oxford and travelling all over the world, the poet is still largely concerned with his formative experiences in the village of Cullen, Co. Cork. And although he sets this particular poem up as a rare attempt to reflect on a recent event, it soon transpires that even his day-old encounter with a haughty hare is really about the past – “in no great hurry, he loped into the field / through the gap we’d made there in the ‘fifties.”

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Alastair McIntosh

The Write Stuff: Poacher’s Pilgrimage, by Alastair McIntosh

Poacher’s Pilgrimage is the narrative of a 12-day journey made by scholar and activist Alastair McIntosh. Travelling on foot from south to north across Harris and Lewis, he crossed bog, hill and glen on a route devised to encompass as many ancient holy sites as possible: wells, stone circles, beehive temples, and early-Christian churches. As well as a travelogue, the book records a spiritual journey as McIntosh considers the long-term spiritual connections between man and nature, and the place and role of organised religion in society. This extract sees him set out from Stornoway towards his starting point at Rodel, the southernmost tip of Harris.

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Rodrigo Hasbun

Book review: Affections, by Rodrigo Hasbún

Hans Ertl was the director of photography for Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia. Though never a member of the Nazi Party, he also worked as the official photographer for Marshal Rommel and the Afrika Korps. After the war he was blacklisted in Germany and in 1950 he emigrated with his wife and three daughters to South America, first to Chile and then Bolivia. There he made documentary films, one about the search for a lost Inca city, and then bought a farm where he would live until he died in his nineties. The oldest daughter, Monika, was his favourite, working with him on his documentaries. She married another German exile, a dull businessman. Oppressed by the poverty and social inequalities of Bolivia, she founded an orphanage and was then drawn into radical politics. Adoring and hero-worshipping Che Guevara, she became a guerrilla fighter or terrorist and later his avenger. Her commitment separated her from the father she had loved. She was killed in an ambush by the security forces. The two other sisters led more normal lives, Heidi returning to Germany where she became a successful businesswoman, the youngest,Trixi, remaining unhappily in Bolivia.

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A Muslim worshipper prays at a Johannesburg mosque on 7 June, the first day of Ramadan, last month. Western hostility to Islamic faith belies the extent to which we embraced the thought of its followers. Picture: Marco Longari/Getty

Book review: Philosophy In The Islamic World | The Seamstress And The Wind

The latest volume of a philosophical history with a mission shows how vital Arab thinking was to the Renaissance in the West, writes Stuart Kelly

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Scottish writer John Buchan was a great believer in the Empire. Picture: Sasha/Getty

Scottish writer’s role in Great War propaganda campaign

John Buchan’s anti-German espionage novel The Thirty-nine Steps was an instant success when it was published in 1915, a year after the outbreak of the First World War.

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Terry Pratchett's book The Wee Free Men to be made into a movie. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

Terry Pratchett book The Wee Free Men to be made into movie

A BOOK by Sir Terry Pratchett about a horde of kilt-wearing Scottish creatures is to be turned into a big screen blockbuster.

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Ian Rankin will be one of several high-profile figures to perform the show. Picture: PA

Ian Rankin to help read Chilcot Report in its entirety at Fringe show

A host of comedians and authors are to read the entirety of the Chilcot report at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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Keggie Carew. Picture: Juliette Foy

Book review: Dadland by Keggie Carew

Between a young man’s inspiring war record and his last years struggling with dementia, Keggie Carew pieces together the complex, fascinating life of her father Tom, flaws and all

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DBC Pierre

Stuart Kelly: DBC Pierre’s mediocre instructions on writing

Lavish use of expletives does nothing to atone for the tedium of a lecture on the writer’s craft by a self-styled ignoramus, writes Stuart Kelly

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Allyson Stack

The Write Stuff: Under the Heartless Blue by Allyson Stack

WELCOME to our regular feature showcasing the talents of the nation’s best writers. This week, an extract from Under the Heartless Blue by Allyson Stack

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A Field Guide To Reality

Book review: A Field Guide To Reality by Joanna Kavenna

Defying genres and expectations, Joanna Kavenna opens a Pandora’s box of abstruse ideas while sending up life in ivory towers, writes Stuart Kelly

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Michael Faber. Picture: Getty Images

Book review: Undying, A Love Story by Michael Faber

Novelist Michel Faber turned to poetry following the death of his wife after years battling cancer, and the results are beautiful and deeply moving

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Budgie smugglers and wild swimming make it into the Oxford English Dictionary for first time. Picture: Getty Images

ICYMI, internet acronyms among new Oxford English Dictionary additions

Britons are pulling on budgie smugglers to go wild swimming, discussing starter marriages at stupid o’clock and sipping craft beer while planning their next elimination diet.

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