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Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2019

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Then she stood a while in the odd grey light of the snow, looking at the soft confusion of footprints by the door of the house. Comments that contribute civilly and constructively to discussion of the topics raised on this blog, from any point of view, are welcome. Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. At the end of the book, although some elements of the story are resolved others, in the manner of a sea fret, are left opaque for the reader to reach their own conclusion about. The only redeeming quality of the book is that it was relatively well-told - even though Miller was telling a story where for the most part (and I can’t stress this enough) NOTHING HAPPENS, he tells it in a way that keeps you turning the page.

So he travels to the Hebrides in Northern Scotland, but little does he know that the Army have sent two soldiers to hunt him down and make him accountable for his inaction.

All wankers,” he says, “every one of them,” employing a word that surely won’t be used this way for another hundred years. Now We Shall Be Entirely Free is full of the kind of historical detail that gives its world solidity, but it is not burdened by it; Miller uses his very specific and deftly dramatized story about a particular time and place to explore the kinds of choices we all have to make in our lives about where to go and why, and to ask what we hope to find if we ever get there. Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, which opens in 1809, records the aftermath of Napoleon’s rout of the British in northern Spain. At the same time a pyschopathic English corporal and a refined Spanish cavalry officer are sent from Lisbon to wreak justice on Lacroix in penance for a British Army atrocity. The trackers’ pursuit wreaks havoc and pain on numerous willing and unwilling folks who enabled the fleer in his flight.

I’m not a reader who insists on internal consistency or historical accuracy within a novel: I prefer both as evidence of authorial and editorial care, but I can enjoy a novel even without them.And the re-issue of the book is from Europa Editions–it seems that every book I have read under that publishing house I really like (The Elena Ferrante Neopolitan series; The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery). Whenever he leaves home, whether on campaign or on the road, he seems to be fleeced of the majority of his possessions. If you have ever been to any of the islands you'll know what I mean when I say it's impossible not to be affected by the beauty all around.

With lyrical writing and a perfectly paced plot, the tension of the impending confrontation mounts whilst allowing the reader to become attached to the main characters.The first is Lacroix’s long journey north from his house in Somerset via Bristol, the home of his sister Lucy, to the Hebrides. I bought this new from Waterstones, and if my memory serves me well, the man that served me even recommended it as a 'Must read'.

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