And the Land Lay Still, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


"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.




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Robertson’s earlier novel, the Diary of Gideon Mack was engagingly and imaginatively written. And The Land Lay Still is a worthy successor, a fictional account of the evolution of Scottish society and politics during the second half of the 20th century. The characters are convincing, the break down of conventional codes of behaviour explained with clarity. I’ve given this novel a high rating, but it would have been even higher but for two faults. The first only became evident occasionally; some pruning might have improved the book’s flow. The second fault was at times highly irritating – the author’s determination to impose his Scottish nationalist sympathies on the reader. Fair enough for nationalism to feature, given it was a significant part of the Scottish politics for some – but by no means all – of this era, but Robertson is not subtle about expressing his political preferences. At times you’re left with the impression that all known problems would be solved by Scottish independence and that you’re just reading political propaganda. That significant reservation aside, this is worth reading for anyone with an interest in Scottish history.

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