Debatable Land

Indelible Ink

One of the never ending discussions about books is whether the meaning comes from the reader or the writer. Of course, the answer is both, but where the balance lies is constantly shifting, and often circumstances and situation dictates this as much as the writing itself. Candia McWilliam’s ‘Debatable Land’ is full of rich metaphor and allegory, but reading it again, both during and after recent events surrounding the Scottish Referendum, I started to read things which may or may not have been originally intended, and some which I can guarantee were not.

The novel is set in two places and times. First off we are introduced to an odd collection of travellers. There are three Scots; Alec Dundas and Logan and Elspeth Urquhart, as well as Nick and Sandro, and the siren-like Gabriel, all of whom are on a sailing boat bound for New Zealand from Tahiti. Their boat…

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