Friday, June 09, 2006

A Public Confession

On Thursday evening, I was at the launch of The Testament of Gideon Mack, the new novel by James Roberston--novelist, poet, non-fiction author, founder of Kettilonia press and, with Matthew Fitt, driving force behind the marvellous Itchy Coo project.

The venue, Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery, was jam packed with figures from the Scottish literatary world--I caught a glimpse of Alastair Reid at one point--media men and women and high heid yins of Scotland's arts bodies. Everybody was melting, so they opened the glass front of the gallery. It made little difference to the temperature in the depths of the throng, but the party spilled out on to the street.
The book owes a lot to James Hogg's masterpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner in structure and, to some extent, content. However, although it's conscious of its antecedents, it looks very much like its own beast in its investigation of faith and belief in this day and age and of Scotland in the latter part of the 20th century.
I'm not given to buying hardbacked novels, but I bought a copy, as one does at a launch, and am looking forward to reading it over the summer.

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