The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn

The Big Music

Kirsty Gunn

Structured as if in musical form and written as a collection of 'selected papers', you are immersed in the obsessional world of bagpipe music. You hear the low drone in the sonorously, lyrical prose echoing in the landscape and understand the meaning of home and loneliness, love and loss. The rhythm and repetition of the music is mirrored in the text as the story of fathers and sons unfolds. Not an easy read but enchanting and original.


So, yes, then, a Lament, for the one who’s leaving – but a Lament too for everything he’s let slip away, the pride and the thoughts of himself as a big man, the big man and all that come to nothing. Those notes too will be worn into the tune. His failure as a father, a son, as a husband and lover – those flattened phrases too and those lines will sound out amongst the theme, his return, no matter how high the music can reach, always going back to his own note, the endless ‘A’. The sound of someone who’s not been able to remove himself from his own mind to see the ways and needs of others, for one minute, not for one minute.
‘Lament for Himself’, indeed.
For that is how it has always been.

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