Monday, December 14, 2015

It’s not just you that moves on

I'd been saving 'Strange Loyalties' by William McIlvanney for Christmas week as a treat to myself.  However, with his recent passing I decided to bring my reading forward a little.  What separated his writing, I think, from other crime writers was an interest in the philosophical.  He would ask 'what does this all mean' kinds of questions rather than simply 'who did this?'  Here's an example that resonates with me as a geographer.

It’s not just you that moves on.  Places move too.  You go back and you find that they are not where they were.  The streets and buildings may remain, with modifications, but they aren’t any longer the places you knew.  The looker makes the looked at and what I was seeing perhaps was a kind of absence, a self no longer there.  I had come into what I took for manhood among these parts of Ayrshire and they had meant much to me, not just as a geography but as a landscape of the heart, a quintessential Scotland where good people were my landmarks and the common currency was a mutual caring.  Why did it feel so different to me today, a little seedy and withdrawn?  Had I dreamed a place? 

Here are my reviews of Laidlaw and The Papers of Tony Veitch.  Both excellent reads.

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