- Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 22mm | 200g
- Publication date: 25 February 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0715639013
- ISBN 13: 9780715639016
- Sales rank: 534,458
When her aunt Shirley dies, Dawn finds herself back in her claustrophobic home town in Northern Scotland for the first time in years. She spends her days caring for her small daughter, listening to tapes of old country songs and cleaning Shirley's flat, until one day she comes across the key to a cupboard that she was forbidden to open as a child. Inside she finds an album of photographs, curling with age, shows a traveller community in the 1950s. A young couple pose on a beach, arms wrapped around each other; little girls in hand-me-down kilts reveal toothless smiles; and, an old woman rests her hands on her hips, her head thrown back in blurry laughter. But why has her aunt treasured these pictures secretly for so long? Dawn's need for answers leads her to a group of Travellers on the outskirts of Elgin. There she learns of a young man left to die on the floor of a cell, and realises that the story of her family is about to be rewritten...
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Eleanor Thom was born in 1979 and currently lives in Glasgow. She won the New Writing Ventures Award in 2006 with a chapter of "The Tin-Kin", her debut novel. Eleanor is a graduate of the Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, and an Honorary Writer in Residence for the French Department. She was recently awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and has been nominated for a Scottish Variety Award for Best New Scottish Writer 2010.
'A powerful first novel about the history and the landscape of the north-east coast of Scotland... catches something about the locality I've not read in any other writer since Jessie Kesson; it conjours landscape by strength of voice, and its take on history is as bracing and cleansing as the local weather' - Ali Smith. 'Elegantly observed, painstaking, tender and truthful. [Thom's] humanity and precision recall Jessie Kesson at her best. Luring the reader deeper with its gentle, unflinching sense of voice, this is a book that's beautifully realised, hugely rewarding' - Janice Galloway, author of "Clara" and "The Trick is to Keep Breathing". 'A thoughtful, intelligent and well-structured book. As it shifts backwards and forwards in time, it offers a powerful insight into the way that tragic events from the past can reverberate into the future' Clare Morrall, Booker-shortlisted author of "Astonishing Splashes of Colour". 'Eleanor Thom mines the history of one of Scotland's forgotten communities with insight and empathy. This is an elegant novel about love and loss, written in spare, lucid prose' - Alan Bissett, author of "The Incredible Adam Spark". 'Eleanor Thom ... creates an entire 'world' with great economy and elegance. Her style is at once natural and impeccably honed so that the overall effect is of that kind of realism which tugs at the heart' Candida Clark, author of "A House of Light". 'It is both a poignant and multi-layered story and an evocative glimpse into a way of life that is no more' - Bookseller. 'A powerful and moving novel' - Sunday Herald. 'It's a cliche to call a new writer promising, but in Thom's case it is true. It will be interesting to see what she does next' - Scotsman. 'A fine debut novel' - Morning Star. 'Mixing pathos with lyrical joy in the small things [Thom] employs an acutely sensitive reading of time and place... a highly accomplished first novel that is structurally perfect... reminds me of Ali Smith's erotic, cumulative style... This novel is no academic treatise but a living, loving reinterpretation of history shared with us' - Scottish Review of Books. 'Much of modern Scottish fiction stems from a realists' revolt against the dewy-eyed pieties of the 'Kailyard School'. Glasgow-based Eleanor Thom is young - born 1979 - and clearly nobody's follower or mimic, but her debut novel ... shows that anti-kailyard grit and candour is alive and kicking hard... Divergent lives mean contrasting languages, as Thom endows the Travellers of the 1950s ... with an expressive Scots voice that never slips into mere pastiche. These vagabond ancestors have nobility to spare - but nostalgia is not for sale here' - Independent. 'A truly remarkable achievement which I hope gets the recognition it deserves' - dovegreyreader.