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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 was one of last year’s most bold novel releases, telling the story from the perspective of both its human and animal characters. Ahead of it’s paperback release, Polly has written a piece on the work she does in the name of research, which is just as bold as her writing!

 

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.

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Chris Dolan made his first trip across Spain when he was a teenager, in the footsteps of Laurie Lee. A little bit older and a little bit wiser, he made the same trip, writing of returning, of memories, of art, travel and history. In this extract of his book Everything Passes, Everything Remains, he reminisces about busking the streets and making friends with his fellow musicians.

 

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...

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

The Book…According to Gavin Francis click

The Book…According to Gavin Francis

‘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 …

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Come By The Hills click

Come By The Hills

‘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 …

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David Robinson Reviews: Trio by William Boyd click

David Robinson Reviews: Trio by William Boyd

‘Boyd has always had a wonderful ability to place his characters very precisely in the past and that is very much the case here.’

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A Study in Crimson click

A Study in Crimson

‘Few things incline a man towards mischief more surely than boredom.’

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The Cauldron of Life click

The Cauldron of Life

‘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.’

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Tin Tin and Asterix in Scots and Gaelic click

Tin Tin and Asterix in Scots and Gaelic

‘A gowden cross, encrustit wi’ gemstanes! An a bonnie cutlass forby! . . . Jings, this cross is a stoater!’

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The Lost Lights of St Kilda click

The Lost Lights of St Kilda

‘But the one person who can tell me is the one person I can never ask.’

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Jack’s Well click

Jack’s Well

‘Everyone that he meets thinks they know him because they have read the books.’

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A Vulture Landscape click

A Vulture Landscape

‘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.’

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Fear in the World click

Fear in the World

‘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.’

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Tomorrow’s Kitchen click

Tomorrow’s Kitchen

‘I moved to Scotland in the summer, and my first taste of a Scottish raspberry is an experience I won’t forget soon.’

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Secrets She Kept click

Secrets She Kept

‘”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.”’

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The Mysteries of the Island of Thaara click

The Mysteries of the Island of Thaara

‘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.’

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