“Affirms Neil Gunn’s place as one of the most important Scottish writers of the twentieth century”
‘Times Literary Supplement’
“Modern Scottish fiction reaches its highest peak in the novels of Neil M. Gunn… Like Hardy, and indeed Joyce… he transcends regionalism and acquires universality.”
Butcher’s Broom is one of Gunn’s epic recreations of a key period in Scottish history, the Highland clearances of the nineteenth century. Gunn captures the spirit of Highland culture, the sense of community and tradition, in a manner that speaks to our own time.
At the centre of the novel is Dark Mairi who embodies what is most vital and lasting in mankind, whose values encapsulate what was lost in Scotland to make way for progress while her land was cleared to make way for wintering sheep. Sad Elie wanders among strangers with her fatherless child, while fiery Seonaid alone defies the invaders from the roof of her croft.
The weaving of traditional ballads with the lives of Gunn’s characters evokes the community that must be destroyed.
This tragic novel is one of the most deeply moving of all Neil Gunn’s books.
You might know the story of the Highland Clearances, but Gunn makes you feel them too, feel the pain.
Glasgow Evening Times
Gunn has given us a wonderful body of work… the greatest in Scottish literature since Sir Walter Scott.