Naming the Bones.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From the author that gave us the award winning The Cutting Room comes Naming the Bones a mysterious novel set in a dark and meloncholy Scotland. The protagonist, Murray Watson is a university lecturer who has dabbled in a love affair that could ruin his career. Taking a sabbatical, he decides to dedicate his time to  researching the poet who has inspired his academic studies and ventures off in pursuit of finding the truth behind the modern Romantic hero. As a novel it was superb and I was gently carried along by the Louise Welsh's soothing currents. However this was not how it was sold. The blurb informs the reader that Naming the Bones  is 'Welsh's darkest novel so far'. I hate to rain on birthday parties but I struggled to find the darkness. I enjoy reading novels that have me gripped and although I was spurred on to read the next chapter out of guilty curiosity, I wasn't ever fearful for the live's of the characters or the intrusion of suspicious strangers. Perhaps it was because the backdrop of this novel was the tragic fates of young Romantics and so suicide seems to be an acceptable theme, but because the nature of Watson's research is retrospective I didn't find the novel particularly 'dark'. 

Saying that, Naming the Bones was entertaining and Welsh's syntax portrayed the grim back-alleys of Glasgow and the characters that inhabit the murky shadows. I would recommend this to anyone who fancies a casual fling with a retrospective mystery. Perhaps even a brief tour of the Shetland islands, I hear it's lovely there this time of year.

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