Scottish Literature

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Scottish Literature

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Jan 13, 2010, 7:24 am

Can anyone enlighten me on scottish books centered on people, tradicions, literature, stories. As I am travelling to Scotland this year I would like to read something, but not the usual travelguides linear narrative that really bores me.

Thanks in advance,

Jan 13, 2010, 7:39 am

While the books are quite dated and quaint, John Buchan, author of "39 Steps", set a lot of his novels in Scotland, "39 Steps" being one of them.

In a more moder vein, Iain Banks' novels, "The Crow Road", "Whit", "The Steep Approach to Garbadale", and "Espedair Street" are all set in Scotland.

Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" and "Catriona" (novel and sequel) are set in Scotland.

Jan 13, 2010, 8:57 am

Hi there,
Thank you for the recommendations - I own both "39 steps" and "Kidnapped"...
I was thinking of something more in the vein of the Sebald's books - but set in Scotland :). If that kind of literature, of someting similiar, exists on the theme.


Jan 18, 2010, 8:30 am

>3 nuno_marcal: - is there anything like Sebald anywhere else?

Authors that could be worth investigating are -

Neil Gunn - most of work (written in 1930-50s) is set in the Highlands and is very good at evoking the hardship, community, and spiritual/supernatural beliefs of the place. It is however an acquired taste, which many struggle to acquire.

Ian Rankin -Edinburgh has a lot fewer murders than shown in his work but he is a good fictional portrayal of the city. (A lighter version would be Alexander McCall Smith).

The Glasgow novel is Lanark by Alasdair Gray - although the success of its fantastical portrait of the city may be more successful if you already know the city.

The recently published The Literary Traveller in Scotland by Alan Foster may be more what you're looking for - it is a guide to the country through it's best writers and their creations.

Where do you intend to visit?

Jan 18, 2010, 10:06 am

Hi Jargoneer,

Thank you very much for this "guide".

In May I will fly from Lisbon to Edinburgh and will stay for a week. No plans yet, but I was thinking of visiting Glasgow also...

Jan 23, 2010, 7:40 am

nuno a visit to glasgow is a must its a great city with lots to see and do. its only a short 45 minute train journey. no visit to scotland is complete without a trip to the dear green place - IMHO!!

enjoy your trip the weather is usually pretty decent in May bit dont forget your brolly!!


Jan 23, 2010, 10:58 am

If you go to Glasgow be sure to visit Glasgow Cathedral. It is amazing.

Jan 23, 2010, 5:21 pm

Thank you.
Yes, I will visit Glasgow for sure...
Bought The Literary Traveller in Scotland and Ian Rakin's book. To be read :)

Fev 8, 2010, 3:31 pm

A book I thought I wouldn't like, but did, is Adrift in Caledonia: Boat-hitching for the Unenlightened by Nick Thorpe, which is a light travelogue.

Fev 8, 2010, 4:38 pm

"Sunset Song" by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, which featured on a recent edition of the Scotland Outdoors podcast, perhaps?