Adventures in Reading
While we still negotiate restrictions in our daily life, the joy and wonder of books is that they can take us anywhere, anytime. In this month's issue, we have the best in new fiction, travel writing, children's books, graphic novels - and more - to help you adventure in inner space. Let's go!
Tiger By Polly Clark Published by riverrun
For my first novel, Larchfield, I spent a lot of time immersed in WH Auden’s work and papers, and wandering his haunts in Helensburgh. I did everything I could to get inside that young poet’s skin, and I thought I had a handle on what research is – a tool, for me, the writer. It was hard work but I was in control of it. It was labour that was in service to the bigger picture of my story.
When I began my second novel, Tiger, about a last dynasty of Siberian tigers, and the people who live alongside them, I knew the research would involve some fairly extreme travel into harsh conditions (11 time zones, -35C, and deep snow) but I didn’t anticipate how it would come to transform the very structure of the book and change my way of understanding the world and my place in it – as both writer and human being.
Extract taken from Everything Passes, Everything Remains By Chris Dolan Published by Saraband
When exactly I left Brendan in La Coruña – or he left me to go north to his in-laws in El Ferrol – and I took my violin to begin the vagabond trail in the wake of Laurie Lee, neither of us are sure. I simply remember heading off. First to some of the villages I had already visited with Brian, or Tere, or others. I had never in my life busked before. I was terrified. I also wasn’t very good, which didn’t...
‘And so I wanted to write a book that mapped the tension, the creative tension, between those extremes: island and city, isolation and connection. And along the way exploring the rich history of islan …
‘This little bump offers a fabulous view right down the length of Glen Lyon and is well worth climbing, if only to understand why Tom Weir, and others, have described this as Scotland’s loveliest glen …
‘Boyd has always had a wonderful ability to place his characters very precisely in the past and that is very much the case here.’
‘Few things incline a man towards mischief more surely than boredom.’
‘The characters journey through the woods and, if I was ever lacking inspiration, I could just take my dogs for a walk in the forest.’
‘A gowden cross, encrustit wi’ gemstanes! An a bonnie cutlass forby! . . . Jings, this cross is a stoater!’
‘But the one person who can tell me is the one person I can never ask.’
‘Everyone that he meets thinks they know him because they have read the books.’
‘Wherever I looked I could see these amazing birds, I was in a vulture landscape and my life was never going to be the same again.’
‘Then she did something incredible, something she too found hard to believe: in spite of her fright and her trembling, she went back to the telephone and asked for Dale’s hotel.’
‘I moved to Scotland in the summer, and my first taste of a Scottish raspberry is an experience I won’t forget soon.’
‘”You’ve done a splendid job. But I just can’t stop thinking about the reason I came here in the first place, and it wasn’t to see the sights.”’
‘As evening fell and the sun’s reflections on the waves turned into a bright rosy hue, I saw the island’s outlines blurred from the horizon.’