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News of the Dead

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This is an enthralling novel set in three eras and explores the emotion of feeling at home in your life and lifestyle.

News of the Dead by James Robertson - Episode guide - BBC

Interestingly the book had me thinking about faith also and how it is important especially when faced with the prospect of death or loss. How someone dies two deaths; one when their soul leaves this earth and one when their name is said for the last time. The only way to preserve someone’s legacy is to write it down. To pass on long after even you have left this earth. To ensure you leave your mark in this world. Welcome to the Siren Book Club! Whether you’re looking for your next steamy romance, an excuse to cry ugly tears or want to be whisked away to a new magical realm, we have something for you. All the characters you’ll meet along the way are strong women who know what they want. Whether it’s reclaiming […] The book is written from three perspectives and over three timescales; Maja in the current day, William Gibb in the early 1800s and the story of Saint Conach from a monk from ancient Pictish times. As we weave in and out of each of these stories, we are sometimes told the same story a few times from each perspective, showing how much a tale changes each time it is relayed.Speaking to Baxter by Loch Lee in the film, Robertson says, “You come to a place like this and you find that your fiction is echoing things that really did happen.” Storytelling is a pervading theme of the book, whether that’s individuals’ own personal histories – the stories they tell about themselves – or how they are remembered by others. The book also explores the notion of what is true and what is invention, and how easy (or difficult) it is to tell the difference. Since the Book of Conach was later destroyed in a fire along with Charles Gibb’s transcription, only his translation (which became a joint endeavour with Jessie) remains. But who is to say that translation was faithful? After all, as Jessie asks at one point, ‘Do you think history must always be duller than fiction?’

News of the Dead (Short 2021) - IMDb News of the Dead (Short 2021) - IMDb

To each and every one and to all creatures of all kinds, a place of refuge and tranquility is assigned; and if that place be found in this life then blessed is the finder, and if not be found then hope itself is the name of it, and the only door that closes upon hope is called death.’ These adverts enable local businesses to get in front of their target audience – the local community. In 2013, James Robertson wrote a story a day: 365 tales, each one 365 words long. They were published in one volume the following year. Some stories were nothing more than light sketches, pithy squibs and fleeting impressions. However, many made a little go a long way and showcased experiments in form and a diverse array of subject matter, whether ballads, monologues, fake obituaries, replayed dreams or restyled fairy tales. In one entry, a writer describes his more inventive fables: “They’re the stories I let out in the open, the ones I slip off the leash.”One day you will wake up and it will be the last day of your life. You may know this or you may not.’ Catholicism hasn’t, however, been completely banished: people like Will’s mother still attend clandestine masses. Mary, Queen of Scots has stayed loyal to the Old Religion and although she has abdicated the Scottish throne, stands a chance of taking over the English one. Meanwhile, Esme Stuart, James VI’s mentor, makes no bones about being a Catholic, and may even be plotting a Counter-Reformation. Scotland looks like being Protestant, but what kind of Protestant: Puritan or humanist? And could it not just as easily be Catholic, English (like the 1574 troops pulling the cannon to lay siege to the Castle) French (like the Queen) or (a bit of a push, this) British?

News of the Dead by James Robertson - Available now - BBC News of the Dead by James Robertson - Available now - BBC

In the present day, young Lachie whispers to Maja of a ghost he thinks he has seen. Reflecting on her long life, Maja believes him, for she is haunted by ghosts of her own.Set in the fictional setting of “Glen Conach” in the North East of Scotland, Robertson in his classic style combines three narratives from characters across different centuries, tied together by their connection to the Glen, creating a tale which is steeped in myth, folklore and legend. In the film, Baxter follows Robertson from his home in Newtyle to Glen Esk in search of an ancient cross stone captured in a postcard, once given to the novelist by a neighbour. The stone is said to have been carved by a pupil of the real life seventh-century Glen Esk hermit, Saint Drostan. This is also a book with a strong sense of place, in this case Glen Conach. Finding your place to belong is a key theme. As Maja says “everyone has a place, a real place or a memory of a place, or a dream of a place.” The use of dialect firmly rooted this book in the Scottish glens. I really enjoyed the use of dialect which appears in some parts of the book though it may pose a challenge to non-Scots. Even I had to look up some words! But don’t let that put you off, as it adds to the richness of the narrative.

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