And the Land Lay Still

James Robertson

And the Land Lay Still

Michael Pendreich is curating an exhibition of photographs by his late, celebrated father Angus for the National Gallery of Photography in Edinburgh. The show will cover fifty years of Scottish life but, as he arranges the images and writes his catalogue essay, what story is Michael really trying to tell: his father's, his own or that of Scotland itself? And what of the stories of the individuals captured by Angus Pendreich's lens over all those decades? The homeless wanderer collecting pebbles; the Second World War veteran and the Asian shopkeeper, fighting to make better lives for their families; the Conservative MP with a secret passion, and his drop-out sister, vengeful against class privilege; the alcoholic intelligence officer betrayed on all sides, not least by his own inadequacy; the activists fighting for Scottish Home Rule – all have their own tales to tell. 4.3 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
And the Land Lay Still

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 688
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication August 2010
ISBN 978-0241143568
Publisher Hamish Hamilton
 

Michael Pendreich is curating an exhibition of photographs by his late, celebrated father Angus for the National Gallery of Photography in Edinburgh. The show will cover fifty years of Scottish life but, as he arranges the images and writes his catalogue essay, what story is Michael really trying to tell: his father's, his own or that of Scotland itself? And what of the stories of the individuals captured by Angus Pendreich's lens over all those decades? The homeless wanderer collecting pebbles; the Second World War veteran and the Asian shopkeeper, fighting to make better lives for their families; the Conservative MP with a secret passion, and his drop-out sister, vengeful against class privilege; the alcoholic intelligence officer betrayed on all sides, not least by his own inadequacy; the activists fighting for Scottish Home Rule – all have their own tales to tell.

Reviews

The Guardian

Irvine Welsh

...a wonderful novel, brilliant in a very different way from its acclaimed predecessor, The Testament of Gideon Mack. A panoramic, illuminating and compassionate portrait of a turbulent and confused era, the book represents nothing less than a landmark for the novel in Scotland, and underlines the author's position as one of Britain's best contemporary novelists.

24/07/2010

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The New Statesman

Jonathan Derbyshire

...although And the Land Lay Still does contain several passages of clunking historical exposition, it is much more than a kind of lightly fictionalised quasi-documentary... Much of the artistry here is architectural; the novel is intricately organised, though Robertson also has, like James Kelman and Irvine Welsh, a strikingly good ear for the cadences of central-Scottish demotic.

06/08/2010

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The Times

Mike Wade

Beautifully realised... That the narrative is so gripping owes everything to an easy prose style, delivering an intricate plot with elegant simplicity… Only when real events erupt do things falter. Even then, Robertson has the skill to incorporate facts into fiction

31/07/2010

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The Sunday Times

Nick Rennison

There are occasional pages in And the Land Lay Still where the exposition of recent history seems to take precedence over the storytelling, passages where character seems subservient to a pre-planned thesis about Scottish politics, but they are few in number. Robertson has mostly trusted the story and the result is a powerful and moving novel.

08/08/2010

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The Financial Times

Ian Irvine

Anyone who was in Scotland in the 1970s will be impressed by Robertson’s recreation of its febrile cultural atmosphere... Its only rival in 1970s revivalism is Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters’ Club (though, sadly, Robertson has fewer jokes).

02/08/2010

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