from the Church of Scotland and

I formed the Free Church. It focuses

5 on the Rev George Darroch, a

2 douce, intellectual and good—looking man who believes that charity begins everywhere but home. Margaret his wife is suffering her fifteenth confinement and Darroch, oblivious : to her feeble state of health, has his eye (though not yet his hands) on several of the eligible belles of the


His, however, is not a comfortable

I !

his conscience. On another plane it reminded me of The French Liewenant’s Woman, a book more consciously-Victorian in its pretensions, but one which also looked backwards without the know-all smugness of hindsight. In both the repression ofsexuality is a dominating theme and while Fowles is cleverer. more artful, Jenkins skips daintily round a difficult

j subject, creating suspense out of 5 conscience. The A wakening of

living. Craignethan is a small. mining ; fecund best. (Alan Taylor)

L o Darkness Bharati Mukherjee 3 (Penguin £3.95)

community presided over by goutish Sir James and his lady, the well-styled Grizel. If he sides with the breakaway ministers he will inevitably lose his church and with it his income and his manse. As he ; vacillates a series ofevents bring about a road to Damascus change in . his nature. Margaret dies and so too does his obese colleague John Jarvie. But little Jessie, his daughter, is spared and when he rejects the advances of J arvie‘s voluptuous widow, George begins to believe in his calling and think for himself. As Eleanor Jarvie remarks. ‘Either you will rise to the Moderator or end up in jail!‘ Whatever, he is no longer sitting on the fence.

George Darroch is a memorable, somewhat anachronistic character who could fit easily into many 19th century three-decker novels. The one which he does inhabit is, however, no conventional costume drama larded with ‘period flavour’. True, there are signs ofthe times. Jenkins makes us aware ofthe social conditions and the prevailing political attitudes which allowed free speech and love of all in church but not in the streets, but this is subtly, unobtrusively, integrated into the narrative. It is part of George Darroch‘s passionate wrestling with

George Darroch sees him near his

This lively collection ofshort stories.

i mostly written in a three-month ' burst ofenergy perhaps the cause

ofoccasional sloppiness - explores

; aspects of immigrant life in America. . The immigrants are high caste ‘not

quites‘, cultured Indians who,

though well set up and cognisant with the host culture. well—versed in

its language and ideals, mentally

‘shuttle between the old world and

the new'. These displaced, though rarely disadvantaged persons. drink

' cocktails, have affairs, breaking old

rules as if, by courting disaster. it is

possible to realise a more coherent

. personal identity. They juggle with the conflicting forces of inherited

and adopted culture Kali and

; Parvati versus Mastercard and Miller ; Lite. Into a sunny present are

-‘ injected dark images of the past: a

. relaxed Sunday dinner induces

I visions of ‘Leeches. [can feel leeches

gorging on the blood of my breast‘; an unfaithful wife longs to be beaten

I to death for her adultery, and so on. : Nostalgia, the author insists, is no , soft option and in these stories she is

almost, but not quite, convincing. (Dilys Rose)


: judges quickly narrowed the lield to

To no one's astonishment the annual

Royal Bank ol Scotland/Saltire Society two important books, the Concise Scots

, Scottish Literary Award tor 1985 went

to ‘another’ poet- Norman MacCalg lor

his Collected Poems. After a litetime’s

quest tor Iucldlty MacCaig (75)

received a cheque tor £1500.

Announcing the Award, Paul Scott, Chairman of the Awards Panel, noted

that despite a very strong shortlist the

; Dictionary and the Collected Poems. It

was, he said, ‘lilte trying to choose between two Important national institutions.’ Although in previous years the Award has been shared from now on there will he an outright winner. (Alan Taylor)


BQQK_I:I§T_-_ , ,.

uwmam!‘ r i “truiqu


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