Advent calendar 7th December – A book that should be better known

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic GibbonIt seems bit odd to nominate a book in this category which this week sees a film adaptation released and a decade ago was voted as the best Scottish book of all time, but Sunset Song, the first of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Scots Quair trilogy, remains largely unknown outside Scotland. So in best film trailer style…

(scenes of rolling Aberdeenshire farmland through the seasons)

Voice Over Man: In a land of beauty and power…

(images of workers toiling in the fields and men leaving to war)

Voice Over Man: At a time of … family and community … hardship and war…

(domestic and rural scenes of a young woman)

Voice Over Man: Chris Guthrie is a young woman … full of determination and passion…

(zoom across the fields to the face of a young woman surveying the land she loves)

Voice Over Man: … but can she survive this often cruel world?

It’s a great story that follows Chris Guthrie, a woman who endures terrible suffering as well as fulfilling love, prior to the outbreak of the First World War and its immediate aftermath, but it is Grassic Gibbon’s radical use of language, a variant of Doric, which gives the book its real strength. Undoubtedly the film will meddle with the language, otherwise it’ll leave nearly everyone confused, so if you want to experience a true feminist icon and Scottish history without the tartan tat do READ THE BOOK.

PS – you can see Cat Down Under’s choice for this here.

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