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Sunset Song (Penguin Classics)

Sunset Song (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Lewis Grassic Gibbon , Ali Smith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Chris Guthrie is the most passionate and appealing heroine in Scottish literature; Grassic Gibbon's magnificent novel is fresh, powerful and timeless. --Anne Donovan

Its great gripping hybrid of melodrama and realism has left me scorched. --Ali Smith

Product Description

Young Chris Guthrie lives a brutal life in the harsh landscape of northern Scotland, torn between her passion for the land, duty to her family and her love of books. When her mother, broken by repeated childbirths, takes her own life and poisons her two youngest children, Chris is left with her father to run the farm on her own. Soon she is alone, and for the first time can choose how to spend her life. But as the First World War begins, everything changes, and the young men leave Scotland for battle. The first in Gibbon’s classic trilogy A Scot’s Quair, Sunset Song is infused with local vernacular, and innovatively blends Scots and English in an intense description of Scottish life in the early twentieth century.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1690 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B000XC60JU
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed. / edition (30 Aug 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9S3S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #281,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many people seem to think this novel is "about" Chris, the central female character. Personally I thought it was about rural Scottish life in the early 1900's, and how a particular community comes to be affected by issues far outside of its own borders and its own control.

The close relationships and way of life within a community such as this, means that even very trivial events or actions carried out by an individual all carry great importance to others. Gossip and rumour necessarily play a significant role in the novel.

The unique writing style of the novel does initially make it very hard to read. Sentences are long, and are often not restricted to a single subject or idea, but once the reader learns to engage with the narrator and understands the style, it is like being told a story by a trusted friend.

By the end of the novel, the reader can closely identify with each of the characters, and as their individual fates are decided, it is impossible not to feel a high degree of sympathy for each of them. I personally found it a very moving read - but must admit that had I not had to study this book as part of my degree, I may well have put it down early on and not picked it back up - that would truly have been a great shame. Stick with it, and you will be glad you did!
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and moving 29 Jan 2003
By Lendrick VINE VOICE
No this isn't the easiest book to read - I'm a Scot but found myself referring to the glossary regularly. Though adding words like 'gowked' (stupified) and 'glunch' (to mutter half threateningly, half fearfully) to my vocabulary may be worthwhile! While the opening section which describes the village of Kinraddie and its occupants is hard going. However, once the story starts and sets the focus on it main character Chris Guthrie what develops it wonderful.

This is a beautiful picture of a soon to be lost way of life - small holding tenant farmers eking out an existence in north east Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century. Gibbon creates a number of strong memorable characters, Chris, Chae, Long Rob of The Mill who bring the whole thing life, by the end I felt I had known them all personally. While the life of the village is conveyed affectionately yet unsentimental, there is no shortage of hardship and precious few unblemished characters. This is also a surprisingly modern novel in the way it deals with sex - never explicit but definitely sensual.

The coming of the WW1 heralds the end of the way of life that the village had known for generations. Gibbon paints a very believable picture of how that war impacted on one remote village.

By the end I felt I had had a little peek into the lives of a generation of Scots - little older than my parents - yet whose lives were so different from my own

No easy read - but well worth the effort.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of Scottish literature 10 Jun 2009
By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE
'Sunset song' is a hauntingly beautiful tale. I came to it whilst living in North-east Scotland. Sunset song, and the companion novels making up 'A Scots Quair', are written in a blend of English and Scots words that only at first seem strange or daunting, you soon find that Grassic Gibbon evokes a lost age in a unique and very effective manner, using very little dialogue (in italics), but talking to the reader all the while. The novel, like much of his writing, is concerned with our lot as man `a mist appearing for a while, then disappearing' (James 4:14), inequality, and the lost `Golden Age' of the Greeks and Hebrews.
Faced with a choice between her harsh farming life and the world of books and learning, Chris Guthrie eventually decides to remain in her rural community, bound by her love of the land, and the croft set in its 'parks' on the Howe. The story returns, again and again, to the early inhabitants who left the standing stones. Grassic Gibbon paints these people, not as warring savages, but as peaceful adventurers. The First World War with its futile brutality is the real de-humaniser.
Chris is now a widowed single mother: her farm, and the surrounding land, is altered beyond recognition - trees torn down, and people displaced. But the novel describes a way of life which is in decline, as John Guthrie said, 'We'll be the last of those who wring a living from the land with our bare hands'.
Chris adapts to her new world, displaying an intuitive strength which, like the land she loves, endures despite everything. 'Sunset Song' is a testament to Scotland's rural past, to the world of crofters and tradition which was destroyed in the First World War, and hence the title of the novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'd never heard of this book before starting on a literature course, but I'm so glad I discovered it. Don't be put off by the 'product descripton' given above, or the Scottish vernacular which you'll encounter on every page, and certainly not by the 'literature' tag. It is above all the story of Chris Guthrie, a crofter's daughter, in the years before the First World War. As she grows from schoolgirl to womanhood, Chris makes the choice to give up her dream of teaching and farm the family croft after the death of her father. It's a beautiful, sad (yet ultimately life affirming) novel of hard work, hope, love, pain, politics, wonderfully realistic characters and incorrigible village gossip! Give it a go - you won't be sorry. I intend to read the rest of the trilogy - "A Scotch Quair" as soon as possible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Scotland the Brave.
better than I thought it would be,but being English I needed a bit of imagination and license to fully appreciate it.
Published 21 days ago by mr.james waters
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunset Song
I have wondered about reading this book for many years and I definitely was not disappointed. This is the most read Scottish book of all time and rightly so.
Published 1 month ago by bett
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunset song
I was delighted to read this book again. I read it many years ago and it brought me great joy. It should be compulsary reading for everyone. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. J. S. Cairns
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about a young girl's upbringing and life in the raw.
I very much like the way in which the book is written. No beating about the bush, a spade is a spade which in this day and age is refreshing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sylvia Willmot
5.0 out of 5 stars As a present..............................
This was bought as a gift for my lady wife,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I had read the book many years ago & seen it played on TV.
A trip down memory lane, if you like.
Published 2 months ago by Gramps
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunset song
One of the best Scottish Classics, ( If you are not a native Scott use reference at end of Book )
Published 2 months ago by Mr. G. C. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scots Classic
The first in Lewis Grassic Gibbon's trilogy, this will immerse you in rural Scotland (set roughly in the area between Dundee and Aberdeen) from 100 years ago, with its harsh... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Diane Ashton
5.0 out of 5 stars book review
this book is very well written and gives a good insight of rural life prior to the 1914 1918 great war
Published 6 months ago by William Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunset song
Sunset Song novel came in good time and is in excellent condition. The information at the start of the book is useful.
Published 9 months ago by linda christie
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable
Atmospheric language, good characterisation, poignant storyline. I read this book in 3 days. A very enjoyable read. Not too demanding but with a few tears and a few laughs.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs Hazel Harrop
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But everybody knew that the English were awful mean and couldn’t speak right and were cowards who captured Wallace and killed him by treachery. &quote;
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