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Synopsis

Introduced by Douglas Gifford. This collection of the best of Iain Crichton Smith’s short fiction brings together not one but many voices, both public and private. Ranging from inner promptings towards self-discovery, through the unconscious comedy of everyday speech, to the rantings of near madness, these stories display the peaks of Smith’s wry, surrealistic humour, and his confessional mode in re-telling the past. The longer stories, illustrative of Smith’s novels, are represented by ‘Murdo’ and the seminal ‘The Black and the Red’. There are also outstanding short pieces such as ‘Listen to the Voice’ and the poignant vignette, ‘The Dying’. ‘These sensitive stories focus on the ambiguities of the inner voice, whose promptings can lead to self-discovery or repression and madness. Each juxtaposes the minutiae of everyday life with moments of searing emotion.’ Independent on Sunday ‘He has a dry pungent humour, a gift for comic invention and a welcome ability to laugh at himself and his background while making a serious point and taking us to conclusions that are anything but obvious.’ Scotsman

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