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And the Land Lay Still [Kindle Edition]

James Robertson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

And the Land Lay Still is the sweeping Scottish epic by James Robertson



And the Land Lay Still is nothing less than the story of a nation. James Robertson's breathtaking novel is a portrait of modern Scotland as seen through the eyes of natives and immigrants, journalists and politicians, drop-outs and spooks, all trying to make their way through a country in the throes of great and rapid change. It is a moving, sweeping story of family, friendship, struggle and hope - epic in every sense.



The winner of the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award 2010, And the Land Lay Still is a masterful insight into Scotland's history in the twentieth century and a moving, beautifully written novel of intertwined stories.



'Toweringly ambitious, virtually flawlessly realized, a masterpiece and, without a doubt, my book of the year' Daily Mail



'A jam-packed, dizzying piece of fiction' Scotland on Sunday



'Gripping, vivid, beautifully realized' The Times



'Engrossing' Daily Telegraph



'Powerful and moving. A brilliant and multifaceted saga of Scottish life in the second half of the twentieth century' Sunday Times



'Brilliant and thoughtful. Eminently readable, subtle and profound' Independent on Sunday



'Bold, discursive and deep, Robertson's sweeping history of life and politics in 20th-century Scotland should not be ignored' Ian Rankin, Observer Books of the Year



James Robertson is the author of three previous novels: The Fanatic, Joseph Knight and The Testament of Gideon Mack, which is available in Penguin. Joseph Knight was awarded the two major Scottish literary awards in 2003/4 - the Saltire Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year - and The Testament of Gideon Mack was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, picked by Richard and Judy's Book Club, and shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year award.



Product Description

Review

Wonderful, brilliant, panoramic, illuminating. A joy to read (Irvine Welsh Guardian)

Gripping, vivid, beautifully realized (The Times)

Powerful and moving. A brilliant and multifaceted saga of Scottish life in the second half of the twentieth century (Sunday Times)

Toweringly ambitious, virtually flawlessly realized, a masterpiece and, without a doubt, my book of the year (Daily Mail)

Big, ambitious, intricately organised . . . it's some achievement (New Statesman)

Dizzying . . . subtle and profound . . . And The Land Lay Still reads like an alternative history of Scotland told by its everyday people instead of its movers and shakers . . . eminently readable (Independent on Sunday)

Both epic and domestic, it delivers a wonderful lifelikeness (Scotsman)

A hugely ambitious and compassionate novel . . . a jam-packed, dizzying piece of fiction . . . already it's being spoken of as the most important novel about Scotland since Lanark (Scotland on Sunday)

About the Author

James Robertson is the author of three previous novels, The Fanatic, Joseph Knight and The Testament of Gideon Mack. Joseph Knight was awarded the two major Scottish literary awards in 2003/4 - the Saltire Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year - and The Testament of Gideon Mack was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, picked by Richard and Judy's Book Club, and shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year award.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1874 KB
  • Print Length: 692 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00D1RUZI6
  • Publisher: Penguin (15 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003VTZRS2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,490 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
James Robertson's And The Land Lay Still couldn't be more evocative of Scotland if it came deep fried with a dram of whisky on the side and a soundtrack of bagpipes. As it is, it's the size of a small caber, but this is not a book you want to toss away. It's wonderful. It's beautiful. It's epic.

The basis for the story is Michael Pendreich who is preparing an exhibition of photographs from taken by his late father, Angus. The focus is on the people rather than the landscape though. Angus had a reputation for taking pictures that are slightly off of the main subject matter - something known as the Angus Angle. Michael had a strained relationship with his father and as he prepares for the exhibition he wonders about his father's life and the subjects of the photographs. As Mike searches for a thematic link between the images, this is a metaphor for the book with a rich cast of believable characters. However, what it is in reality is a celebration of Scotland and a social and political history of Scotland in the post war years, with an on-going focus on national identity. But just like Angus' photographs, Robertson makes these political issues an angle on a series of stories and character studies that intertwine.

It's a terrific achievement. Robertson is a highly gifted story-teller himself and while those searching for a clear plot line might be frustrated, what emerges is one of the most evocative and convincing celebrations of a country that I've had the pleasure of reading. He's clever too. Some characters speak in Scottish dialects, but these are not always the ardent supporters of nationalism. No, that would be too cliche and easy. And yes, his characters do take opposing views, although the over-riding sense is that independence is a good thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant..... 30 April 2012
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This very impressive novel takes a bold sweep through Scottish history from the time of the second World War right up to the present. It begins with Michael Pendreich attempting to write the introduction for a book to accompany an exhibition of his late father's photographs and ends with the exhibition opening. But between these two events the book gives us a panorama of modern Scotland - post-war optimism, the introduction of the national health service, the rise of nationalism, mining disasters, oil exploration, Thatcherism, the destruction of manufacturing industries, the Poll Tax, privatisation and New Labour.

The story unfolds through the lives and loves of diverse characters. There are journalists, politicians, skilled and unskilled workers, criminals and spies. Although they seem to be living quite separate lives the narrative skilfully lets them interweave and affect each other.

Michael's character lies at the heart of the book, forever in the shadow of his talented father and looking for love that he never found in his own family. Jack Gordon was a Japanese prisoner-of-war who has been so damaged by the experience that he disappears - but continues to weave his way through the book as an enigmatic ghost-like character. The one false note (I thought) was the character of the oh-so-bad Charlie Lennie and Ellen's attraction to him. This did not ring true....

And The Land Lay Still is beautifully written and brilliantly structured. Although it moves back and forth in time and has lots of different characters it is not at all difficult to follow. The Scottish speech patterns were well written and made it easy to "hear" the dialogue as I read. However I did have to look up some of the words that defeated me such as thole, semmit, kinkhoast, thrapple!

Brilliant.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'the meaning of stones' 6 Aug. 2010
Format:Hardcover
James Robertson's novel 'aint small. 60 years of history covering 670 pages, charting a period of great change not only in Scotland, where the book is centred, but across the British Isles and beyond. This isn't a book to whip through quickly, which isn't to say that it's slow or meandering, but with a significant cast of characters often connected through family or circumstance I wished at times that I'd had one of those handy bookmarks that came with my edition of War and Peace with all the characters listed and grouped together by family.

The narrative is rather neatly framed by the curation of a photographic exhibition. Mike Pendreich struggles to write the essay that will accompany his father Angus's retrospective, a collection of photographs charting 50 years of Scottish life. It isn't just about picking the right pictures, but whether the narrative or structure that Mike imposes on the work is appropriate.And so as he takes a retrospective look, so do we. The first section looks at Mike's political education in the radical Edinburgh of the 1970's ('The decade when the world changed. This is how Mike thinks of the 1970s. Maybe this is because it was in those years that he himself changed, came to know who he was. And maybe that's nonsense, because who ever really knows who they are? And does the world, or anybody, ever stop changing?').Robertson creates a fervent atmosphere of music, political discussion and opinion which spills out from pubs like Sandy Bell's and into the houses of magnetic figures like Jean Barbour. Like the centre of the spinning wheel she is the still point around which many of this section's characters revolve (whilst also being an important figure for Mike's father).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Heading to Edinburgh? Worth trying this angle -
Quite a long, hard read. But vividly evocative for anyone who knows Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland and has memories of them in the 1960s and '70s. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amy Alexander
1.0 out of 5 stars A long read! Full of stereotypes!
Not very subtle. A long read! Full of stereotypes. Hmm!
Published 3 months ago by Jane Forster
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be read by those who do not understand Scottish peoples...
For me it refreshed my memory of a Scotland that was slowly emerging from post war turbulance into a vibrant community that has produced great writers and artists.
Published 5 months ago by Sylvia
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. Sheila Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars A few more words of congratulations to James Robertson
This novel tells of a Scotland undergoing more significant changes since the start of the Industrial Revolution. One of the best novels I have read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr M A Heazell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
absorbing story!
Published 6 months ago by Michael Callaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Absolutely brilliant!
Published 6 months ago by sweaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Scotland
If you want a profound, unique, personal, social and political story of Scotland post the Second World War, then look no further. Read more
Published 6 months ago by M Allan
3.0 out of 5 stars Fiction but an insight into Scotland's politics and culture
Over-hyped as 'nothing less than the story of a nation' and the Great Scottish Novel, and, I suspect self-consciously written as such, this is still worth a read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by David
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