0 Secrets: 0n the Ethics ol Concealment and Revelation Sissela Bok (Oxford UP £5.95) When do we have a right to know and when are we just being nosey? Such fundamental questions are unravelled in this erudite. probing and highly topical study which reveals men as more prone to gossip than women. despite Kierkegaard's abhorrence ofit. Nigel Dempster is ignored.
0 Summoned by Knox Alan Bold (Wolfion Books £5.95) Poems in Scots by our most prolific author. George Bruce contributes an objective introduction.
0 The Albatross Mull Barbara Hanrahan (Chatto £3.95) With all the traffic going the other way Stella. her mother. the baby and a cow
return to Victorian England after
Papa’s demise. The sweet and sinisterly sour story oftheir ‘exile‘. evocativer and sensitively told through the eyes of the young girl.
0 Sisters by Rite Joan Lingard (Arrow £1.95) A powerful. seamless Belfast-based novel in which religious tension serves as a backdrop to the vacillating friendship of three young girls which persists into adulthood.
o Extraordinary Women and o Vestal Fire Compton Mackenzie (Hogarth Press £3.95 each) Sybaritic romans a clefs set in the homosexual haven of Capri. Mackenzie poises his pen comically at the shenanigans and was subsequently reviled in gay quarters for his irreverence. Now. in his treatment ofthe subject. he seems to have been ahead of his time though his prose hints at anachronism. Love‘s Labours Lampooned.
0 Night Falls on Ardnamurchan Alasdair MacLean (Penguin £3.95) And on the author. in this pessimistic. gloves-off account of crofting life on the bleak peninsula north of Morvern. Truculent yet curiously confiding. MacLean has produced perhaps the most singularly honest book yet written on the Highlands, viz: ‘Your Highlander is a scab-picker extraordinary. Truly one might almost say that if the Clearances had not taken place it would have been necessary to institute them.’ He is equally sensitive about Sassenachs. 0 From the Clyde to Calllornia: Robert Louis Stevenson's Emigrant Journey Edited and Introduced by Andrew Noble (Aberdeen UP £9.95) It was an impulsive. ailing and besotted RLS who journeyed to America to rendezvous with Fanny Osborne, whom he later married. His journeys and sojourn are recounted in four books. of which Andrew Noble regards The Amateur Emigrant most
highly. Stevenson. never a pcrspicacious critic of his own work. was less than enamoured of it. This volume includes all four books and is enhanced by appropriate illustrations. Incidentally. The Silverado Squatters is not the book of the recent movie (‘boovie‘ in New World parlance) of the near-same name.
0 Understanding Scottish Graveyards Betty Wilsher (Chambers £3.95) A vade-mecum to Valhalla. but one to bequeath rather than take with you if you intend to RIP.
0 Their Eyes Were Watching God and DustTracks on a Road Zora Neale Hurston (Virago £3.95 and £4.95) First published in 1937. Their Eyes Were Watching God is set in Eatonville. Florida. the first incorporated black town in America and the author‘s home town during her childhood. It‘s a highly romantic tale in which eligible men just appear on the doorstep. and the heroine. Janie, ups and elopes with them, even ifshe happens to be married at the time. Janie negates her grandma's belief that ‘de nigger woman is de mule uh de world‘ and does alright for herself. though doesn't get everything at once. Status comes without love and later love comes without status. Dramatically. the novel is off-balance. At one point Janie is tried for the murder ofone her husbands. This scene. which is the culmination of a succession of tragic events. is over and done with rapidly. dropped like a hot potato. Ms Hurston‘s strength lies more in her rendering of down-home speech and her depiction of small. everyday affairs: major events have much less credibility. Occasionally great chunks ofdialogue are too true to the real thing in that they achieve little with respect to the narrative. but overall they contribute much to this vivid recreation of a black community which is not a
homogenous or clannish group, but a 1
rich mix of individuals. each with his/her own motives and prejudices. not least prejudices relating to colour.
Dust Tracks on a Road. also a reprint. is a mixture of autobiography. literary experiment and theory. Amongst other things. it‘s an interesting collection of writing styles ranging from the vernacular to the academic. and includes a good measure of folk culture gleaned from the author‘s time as an anthropologist. There is. however, a disturbing conflict between Ms Hurston's faithful recording of‘primitive‘ negro life. and those theoretical passages in which she expresses her later highly
It's over one hundred years since Wilhelm Busch lirst unleashed Max and Moritz, an impish Teutonic double act, on an unsuspecting Bavarian township. So well did his pithy rhymes and pawky illustrations bring to lile their ingenious tyranny that he has since been awarded the Ultimate Accolade: a permanent place at the
practical jokes at which the burghers are the unhappy victims. In the ‘lllt ploy’ Uncle Jock’s mattress is lnlested with ‘pokes' oi ‘bum clokes’, the Scots entomological equivalent oldung beetles, a pest he literally stamps out. Other ploys have similar violent resolutions, none more so than the one in which Dad and Davie get their
‘ come-uppance; they are ground as corn
trilogy oi bairn rhymes. Now almost 78,
T and led to ‘Maister Miller's leathered ' i 3 ioolies'. Drastic, and, as laras I can ' i tell, iatal. After a llletime's teaching.
Jim Annand shrugs philosophically and
I recalls his own uninsulated reading l habits. Undoubtedly, he realises, A some teachers and parents will see in
, Dad and Davie prototype i ; ne‘er-do-wells but he doesn't expect
; cases oi chicken thieving to rise
j dramatically. Rather he hopes to
; stimulate interest in Scots among the
young alter its recent revival with the publication at the Concise Scots Dictionary, the Lorimertranslatlon ol the New Testament and Annand's own
he has spent a lifetime pushing back : the tide oi English linguistic
bedsides oi German children. Now J K Annand, the former editor or Lallans, has re-christened them Dad and Davie (Canongate, £3.95) and translated theirvarious adventures into vivid Scots which, though it kowtows to the original, successlully relocates the . diabolic duo among Jock Tamson’s 5 Bairns. 3 Translating Max and Moritz was, says 3
j Jim Annand, the idea oi Manlred
Gorlach, a linguist at Cologne University. He has since commissioned other dialect versions tor a polyglot edition and laterthis year i Glaswegian, Shetland and Doric i manilestations oi the miscreants will i emerge. Each translator has lound appropriate local appellations tor the ' pair but why did Annand settle on Dad 5 and Davie? ‘I didn’t have anyone particularin mind. lwas looking lor ji names which conveyed a particular Scottish milieu and they had to be alliterative, one a monosyllable and the other two syllables. They had to be lairly common names but I didn‘t lancy Jock or Tam, the obvious choices. It i wasn’t that diliicult really.’ Dad and Davle‘s ‘ploys', as Annand i describes them, are a series ol
; imperialism,an unlikely rolelora 5 history teacherbutunderstandable
when you realise he inherited MacDiarmid’s mentor, George Dgilvie, ,
i his teacher at Broughton. ‘In my 6th
year Dgilvie encouraged me to have a Scots issue oi the school magazine which i was then editing. I remember reviewing Sangschaw (MacDiarmid’s lirst collection at lyrics). It created quite a stir.‘ Perhaps Dad and Davle
j will too. (Alan Taylor)
I I a List an -?Feb 43