Introduced by Roderick Watson. Garry Forbes comes home from the trenches, suffering from shellshock, to find a local girl claiming to have been engaged to one of his dead friends. He sets out to expose her fantasies by cleaving to his simple view of reality. The truths of inner experience, however, are more elusive and fluid than he ever imagined and he is compelled to acquire a more subtle outlook on life and people. The tiny community of Fetter-Rothie, with all its gossip and petty scandal, is delightfully realised in every detail. Yet Nan Shepherd builds a novel of great penetration and power within this small canvas, animated by images of light, darkness and space, and always informed by a Chekhovian eye for the humour, terror and strangeness to be found in everyday life. Nan Shepherd's first novel The Quarry Wood was highly acclaimed when re-issued as a Canongate Classic. This, her second novel, is considered to be her masterpiece.

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