Invisible Country by James Campbell was published in 2000, a paperback copy has been in my "to read" bookcase literally for several years. I've not chosen it on the many occasions when I stood in front of the bookcase because a part of me kept thinking, I will go to Scotland some July or August and rent a car and drive over those beautiful hills and beside those lochs and drink some single malt whisky ... but time is passing and a week ago I took the book out and began reading. It is not a travel book, it is a journey of a Scot, born and bred, who was a city boy, Glasgow and Edinburgh, who took buses and mostly hitchhiked around the emptier regions.
Why they are so empty is a sad and deeply painful story. So many tribal people [clans are tribes, of course] have been viewed as savages and somehow subhuman by more powerful people who coveted their lands sometimes for something as ignoble as wishing to have huge hunting preserves to show off to their equally bloodthirsty friends [as was the case for several thousands of acres of northern Scotland in the hands of British nobility]. I only vaguely knew about this. Much that Campbell wrote was very painful. But other parts of what he wrote entices me all the more to hope that I can make that journey some day. There's Scottish blood in my veins, and some of the rather dour personality in my family, the repressed emotions that I have never regretted even in the face of far more emotional people. When I bought the book I knew I wanted to read it. There are several dozen other such treasures in that "to read" book case and I hope to get to them ... the trouble is I keep adding to their numbers.
Today at the "free shop" at the local recycling place, I picked up four more books for that bookcase. And so it grows...
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