The Tide is Right

Hugo Charteris, Author Dalkey Archive Press $19.95 (145p) ISBN 978-0-916583-71-2
This study of a dysfunctional upper-class Scottish family bristles with acid witticisms reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh. London journalist John Harling feels guilty for having encouraged his sister Mary to marry dissolute cad Duncan Mackean. Harling goes to visit the Mackean estate, but Christmas revelry turns to nightmare when Duncan and his aristocratic cousin Alan go out shooting, and only one returns alive. Haunting the clan is the memory of Alan's father, war hero Colin Mackean, dead two years, ``a sort of archetypal Highland god-figure.'' In stylish, quirky, elliptical and lyrically powerful prose, British novelist Charteris (1922-70) cheerfully strips away upper-class poses and pretensions, revealing the jealousies, hang-ups and latent violence lurking beneath the surface. This delectably sardonic novel was withdrawn from publication in 1957 in response to protests by the family on which the protagonists were said to be modeled. It's as fresh as if written yesterday. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-916583-78-1
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