Truth of Stone -OS

David MacKenzie, Author Mainstream Publishing Company $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-85158-343-0
This powerful and beautifully written debut vividly portrays the harsh, often grim life of the Scottish Highlands in the early 20th century. When Elsie McAndrew vanished from the village of Spaladale in 1934, everyone assumed she'd run off with a lover. Fifty years later, her corpse is found in a dried-up loch--but it's the body of an elderly woman, and Elsie disappeared at age 29. Where had she been and what had she been doing in the intervening years? Narrator James Atherton, who grew up in Spaladale long after Elsie allegedly left, is drawn to her story and attempts to relate it, although he admits that ``in trying to approach the truth I have to start off by telling lies.'' A series of 12 vignettes delineates Elsie's early life: the desertion of her drunken father, the demands of her ailing mother, a marriage that turns sour and a doomed love affair. After she disappears, a very different tale proceeds, as the author plays with the nature of memory, truth and fiction. Well received when it appeared two years ago in Great Britain, Mackenzie's thoughtful novel will appeal to discerning American readers as well. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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