Butchers Broom, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


"Butcher's Broom" is Neil Gunn's epic recreation of the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century, when great changes swept through the country and its people.

Tapping into the essence of Gaelic experience, "Butcher's Broom" is the story of a community threatened with eviction, in order to make way for sheep.

At the centre of the novel is the mysterious Dark Mairi, who embodies the spirit of ancient Highland culture.

The sense of Gaelic community and tradition is captured, while the novel's characters exemplify what is most vital and lasting in mankind.

This is among the most moving of Gunn's works and establishes the transcendent spirituality that would be so dominant in his later work.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn General
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9781904598916



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Evocative would be the word, I think. Gunn treats the story of evicted crofters here with a very emotional and gut-wrenching, close lens. I think it was excellently done, weaving together drastically different viewpoints to highlight the tragedy and the inevitability of the change in society that resulted in many of the Clearances. Some beautiful prose in here, and some that I just let wash over me, like Lewis Grassic Gibbons', meaning it was a little too far from my experience to understand the dialect, but I just kept going... and was rewarded with a satisfying, if not happy, conclusion.