Sunset Song, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Faced with the choice between her harsh farming life and the seductive but distant world of books and learning, the spirited Chris Guthrie decides to remain in her rural community.

But as the devastation of the First World War leaves her life-and community-in tatters, she must draw strength from what she loves and endure, like the land she loves so intensely.

Brutal and beautiful, passionate and powerful, Sunset Song is a moving portrait of a declining way of life and an inspirational celebration of the human spirit. And in Chris Guthrie, Grassic Gibbon has given us one of literature's most unforgettable heroines.


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In the 1930s there was a revival of writers recording the death of the countryside in the UK - Richard Jefferies, HE Bates, Vaughn Williams - as farm machinery replaced traditional methods and younger people wanted more from life. There was a need to record it passing. Sunset Song adds its voice to this lament. However, as it talks about the decline of the Scottish crofter, it has a new angle. The characters are fiercely independent from their lairds and King and Country but are nevertheless powerfully though subtly influenced by both - and a wrathful God. The book narrates the villagers hardship and love of the land with vigour. Lewis writes in Scottish dialect which takes some getting used to (though there is a glossary at the back I discovered when I finished) and it is one of those books that packs its punch at the end. I felt I had learnt a lot when I finished it - about Scottish rural communities and the Scottish people. Anyone who is interested in Scotland or rural communities must read it - a classic.

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